David Thodey, the new CEO of Telstra, said it would be nice to own 100% of Pay TV company Foxtel. However he doubts that at this stage, whether News Ltd or the Packer owned ConsMedia would be prepared sell.
However, Foxtel Chairman, Bruce Akhurst, believes that the two minority shareholders are not doing as well as expected online and that one day they may need to raise capital.
Thodey said “It’s a good business, a growing business we would like to own 100% but our partners may have different ideas”.
The comments by Thodey could be a problem for Seven Media boss Kerry Stokes, who last month invested millions to gain a 19.9% share of ConsMedia who own 33% of Foxtel.
One analyst at the Telstra briefing today said “The current partners would most likely deal with Telstra over Stokes. Or there could be a bidding duel if a shareholding was put up for sale”.
Earlier today, Foxtel said that they now had 1.63 million direct and wholesale subscribers which is an increase of 8% over the previous year. Wholesale subscribers fell by 15% and 13.3%, quite the service for good.
Revenue for the year ended 30 June 2009 reached $1.84b, an 11% increase on the prior year. This increase was driven by a combination of growth in subscribers and ARPU said Foxtel. Earnings grew by 16% to $406 Million from $351 million a year earlier.
Among the outstanding performers was the Foxtel iQ set top box offering, with over three-quarters of all new subscribers electing to take either the iQ or the High Definition iQ2. At the end of June 2009, 43% of all Foxtel managed subscribers were taking the iQ and 26% taking Multi-Room. Over 125,000 subscribers were taking the Foxtel HD+ service Foxtel claimed.
Foxtel’s Chief Executive, Mr Kim Williams AM, welcomed the solid results and said, “Our results have been built on a continued commitment to innovation and investment and to providing our customers with a great value entertainment option – which we have developed through extensive customer research and daily customer feedback to our dedicated customer centre”.
During 2008, Foxtel launched ten new channels including Sky Business News, 111 Hits, CBeebies, BBC Knowledge, Fox Sports HD, ESPN HD, Discovery HD, Nat Geo HD, BBC HD and A-PAC together with Foxtel HD Box Office On Demand. Foxtel has also launched a new web site which offers a collection of full screen video clips.
Subscribers can also manage accounts online.