Foxtel have reignited the debate over whether consumers get a high quality Full HD experience on their free to air TV’s with Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein claiming that he wants to lift Foxtel market share in Australia by 50% by proving that with Foxtel consumers get a better Full HD experience.
His spin is a forerunner to wanting to charge Australians for access to Full HD coverage of the upcoming London Olympics.
Foxtel who charge up to $132 a month for access to their content is set to mount a major marketing program is an effort to unsettle Australians about the quality of their free to air TV coverage.They also want to charge current Foxtel subscribers an additional fee to get access to the Full HD content coming out of the London Olympics.
When the subscription Company covered the last winter Olympics consumers ignored the service resulting in Foxtel losing money.
What F wants is to get Australians to go out and fork out hundreds of dollars for a Foxtel digital set top box which allows subscribers to get access to several new Olympic channels the Company plans to launch.
A Nine Network executive who has the free to air rights to the London Olympics said “Consumers will; get a great Full HD experience from the Nine Network”.
Freudenstein said that he wants to boost subscriber numbers for Foxtel by demonstrating it has a premium advantage over its free-to-air network competitors.
“Sport, for example, on free-to-air television is not in HD, and people have to start realising that and how good it is on Foxtel, so we’ve got to do a better job of promoting.”
“You’ll see a lot more from us in terms of high definition and a focus on promoting high definition because it is a real differentiator against free-to-air. We have about 30 HD channels that are absolutely beautiful to watch, whereas free-to-air has a couple of multi-channels in HD, but the main channels are not HD” he told the Australian newspaper which is owned by News Limited a one third shareholder at Foxtel.
Freudenstein said that he wants to use his high-definition channels to increase pay-TV penetration in Australian households from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.
Currently Foxtel is waiting on a decision by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to see whether they can go ahead with the $1.9 Billion dollar acquisition of regional pay TV operator Austar an acquisition that will give them over 89% share of the Australian subscription TV market.
“I want to get to 50 per cent of Australian households. There is no timetable for that” Freudenstein said.
“I think integrating Austar gives us a big opportunity to have a national brand and talk to customers with one voice, and we’ll also look more and more at reaching consumers on different platforms” he told the Australian.