Channels for Digital TV, by Greg Tingle - 15th December
plus digital pay TV channels are to arrive next year,
including movies on demand (MOD) and interactive sports
Foxtel finally received the go ahead to introduce
its digital offering.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
approved the rate Foxtel can charge pay TV players
like Kerry Stokes's Channel Seven to gain access to
its network, removing the last regulatory hurdle Foxtel
had to wipe out before rolling out its digital offering.
plans to begin the service before the conclusion on
Q2, raising the number of pay TV channels it offers
from 47 to more than 100.
will disclose the official launch date for its digital
service, and the new channels, in early 2004.
it has confirmed it will offer a range of interactive
services, including one that would allow viewers to
choose a movie and view it shortly afterwards. Likened
to having a personal video and DVD library in your
lounge room, it will enable viewers to select new
will also offer interactive news and sports services.
Sports Active will enable people to choose camera
angles, view player and competition statistics and
watch highlights. Too much to soon?
News Active will offer a selection of eight local
news screens, including specific finance news and
does not intend to offer its own interactive gambling
or betting services. Perhaps that's got something
to do with NSW Premier Bob Carr being very vocally
active about gambling in society.
price Foxtel will charge for its new digital services
has not been released yet, however, the entry level
charge will be the same as that for its satellite
service, currently $47.95 a month. This deviates from
the model that Optus used a few years ago, which was
in the range of $20 a month more than their pay TV
offering. Optus since pulled the plug on their ITV
the last Australian Media Forum in Sydney, Foxtel
CEO, Kim Williams told Media Man Australia, and a
packed house, that Foxtel was not doing a commercial
trial, and that it was for real.
is investing more than $600 million upgrading its
analog cable network to digital, forecasting the new
interactive services will boost stagnating subscriber
23 per cent of Australian households have pay TV,
but Foxtel's chief executive, Kim Williams, predicts
that the arrival of a digital service will increase
this to between 35 and 40% by the conclusion of 2008.
Talk about long range forecasts.
will be allocated for up to 24 competing pay TV services
on Foxtel's upgraded digital network.
Seven Network, which axed its C7 pay TV sports channel
last year, is the best-known media company likely
to introduce a pay TV service on the Foxtel network.
Can David Leckie and Williams patch things up for
the benefit of all?
rate Foxtel charges companies for access to its network
will be regularly independently audited. Who's on
the panel, and how independent is yet to be seen.
it's anything like last year, the Australian TV public
is in for fun times on both sides of the digital TV
Man Australia: TV & Radio links
Man Australia interviews:
Williams, Foxtel CEO - 3rd July 2003
Webb, Digital Broadcasting Australia - 27th August
Arnold, Carlson Analytics - 1st September 2003
Clements, Hi't! TV - 19th September 2003
Robertson, Australian Broadcasting Authority - 4th
is a former Optus and Telstra "Salesperson of
the month", and the director and broadcaster
of Media Man Australia (www.mediaman.com.au).
at Optus, he helped grow the Pay TV and ITV division
of the business.
is a judge on Reality TV program, Hi't!
and a regular on Sydney's
Channel 31. He is often heard on Australian radio
stations, and makes appearances
at media forums.
Greg Tingle's full biography