The Foxtel Austar pay TV merger is looking very shaky after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said they have delayed making a decision on the $1.9 Billion deal.During the last month, several organisations including IPTV competitors have told the ACCC that the merger of regional TV Company Austar and Foxtel is “extremely dangerous” as it will restrict competition for IPTV operators.
Both Foxtel and Telstra who own 50% of Foxtel have in recent months moved to lock down distribution deals in Australia with device manufacturers.
Last night Philip Newton, Director of Audio Visual at Samsung Electronics Australia said that his Company is close to launching Foxtel services on their new Smart TV range.
Samsung who are the #1 TV suppliers in Australia represent 50% of flat panel TV sales via Harvey Norman, who are the number one retailer of TVs in Australia.
Foxtel already has a deal with Microsoft who currently offers Foxtel packages via their Xbox 360 which is Australia’s most popular gaming console.
Also offering Foxtel is Telstra via their T Box service. This service is available on LG, Panasonic and Samsung TVs and Blu ray players.
Also looking to deliver Foxtel along with their IPTV services are two other major TV companies and several set top box manufacturers.
According to Newton, the big attraction to Foxtel is sport: “We will deliver the basic Foxtel service while offering consumers step up services such as movies and sporting packages.”
“We have extensively researched the Foxtel Xbox offering and what we will offer is an expansion of what they are offering. We want to be operational with a Foxtel offering before the London Olympics which will be superior via Foxtel as they are able to deliver a full HD package whereas Channel Nine is not delivering Full HD” he added.
Several competitors including Fetch TV have said that the wording of the undertakings proposed by the ACCC to Foxtel allowed Telstra and Foxtel too much freedom.
The ACCC undertakings were aimed at giving rival players access to non-exclusive content such as foreign movies while preserving exclusive content such as sport for Foxtel.
No new date has been given for the expected decision.
The Australian newspaper said the delay will not stop the Austar shareholders meeting set down for Friday to approve the Foxtel takeover.