In Sydney last night pay-TV sales group Multi-Channel Network hosted a function with Foxtel CEO Kim Williams, Austar chief John Porter and subscription heavyweights. The pay TV industry focused on the “big TV picture.”
“In 2008 subscription TV is enjoyed by 33 per cent of the population who on average are spending nearly 60 per cent of their television viewing time with our channels and our content,” MCN chief executive Anthony Fitzgerald said.
“Subscription TV is now Australia’s highest rating network. And in the most important television market in the country, Sydney, subscription TV’s lead is significantly more pronounced. In Sydney, overall STV out-rates the three free-to-air networks by a significant margin.”
Them’s fightin’ words….lucky they didn’t hear it nearby where Free TV Australia was hosting drinks for the likes of new multi-channellers Grant Blackley and Nick Falloon (CEO and chair of Channel Ten), Nine chief David Gyngell and Seven’s David Leckie.
Meanwhile Foxtel announced 11 new Australian productions for next year, including an advertising industry sitcom from Andrew Denton’s production company, a local version of boxing reality series The Contender and a celebrity trivia show.
According to the Daily Telegraph, it means Aussie audiences will see the likes of Crime Investigation Australia and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – both featured on Foxtel first – before later appearing on free-to-air TV.
Mr Fitzgerald acknowledged pay TV’s audience growth this year was down substantially but attributed most of the blame to the TV ratings agency, OzTam, which did not measure TV viewing in homes with digital video recorders such as Foxtel’s IQ and Austar’s MyStar.
He said the pay TV industry’s 10,000-home viewing panel was designed to deal with the OzTAM shortfalls and was on track to be launched next July.