Digital go slow

Foxtel has lashed out, surprise surprise, against the commercial free to air broadcasters for their lack of detail on their proposed second digital channels.

Since yesterday the networks could have been airing the new channels.

Adam Suckling, Foxtel’s director of policy and corporate affairs, told The Australian “Seven, Nine and Ten have had more than two years to plan and launch one new digital channel each on January 1, 2009 — which they are now allowed to provide under government rules.

“But they have chosen not to do so … If the free-to-air networks were serious about driving digital take-up, they would have launched their new channels from the day they’re allowed to.”

So far only TEN has indicated its plans to launch a 24hr sports channel, One HD, by April.

Foxtel plans to introduce more digital channels as it gains further satellite capacity.

“Foxtel launched nine channels in 2008 — including Sky News Business and five new HD channels — and will launch another 20 digital channels in 2009,” he said.

“The free-to-air advertising says they’re providing 15 channels. But in fact…. they will only provide three new channels to what is already available.”

Source: The Australian


  1. Foxtel criticizes free to air broadcasters for their lack of detail on proposed digital channels? What about their 20 new digital channels? I don’t hear them revealing what they are!

  2. I have to say I’m with Foxtel on this. I was really surprised that no one had a new station ready to go the minute they were allowed to. Even if all it had on it was reruns of the stuff on the main stations, it would still be better than nothing at all. It’s not like they don’t have the content. Give us a lost marathon, or start showing mcleods daughters from ep 1 or something. hell, a test pattern with a “coming soon” message is better than nothing. At least we could then say “well channel X has at least switched it on. yay channel X!” and they’d have a bit of good karma going for them.

    But no. And you can bet in a few months time they will be blaming us the viewers, saying we’ve been slow to take up buying freeview branded product etc.

  3. It’s true, its taking a while for the new channels to come, and I myself don’t want to be disappointed after waiting so long. By disappointed, I mean imagine if 7 and 9 also had 24 hr sport along with ONE. Thats too much sport. I know Aussies are sport fanatics, but not everyone.

    The 2nd channel should be what it’s there for: New shows, imported and local, unique stuff so we can watch more than just the usuals, you know, like Grey’s, NCIS etc. Simulcast HD into SD is a good idea, though most of the stuff in the HD channel is whats already on the original channel and theres not much unique progrmming yet during primetime, mostly afternoons.

    +2 is another idea, but even though a few might see it as a good idea, I think its going to be unpopular.

    Foxtel says that they have loads of channels and are attacking Freeview. But Freeview is for those who a) don’t want to pay to sit on the couch longer. b) the majority. Most people stick to FTA coz I would think thats enough to watch.

    Really I do hope that 7 and 9 hurry up and get the channels up, but please don’t disappoint us who have been waiting patiently.

  4. looks like 2009 is going to be an interesting year, 20 new channels! only one has been announced so far (a-span) it will be interested to see what the others are.

  5. If 2008 was a bad year for FTA digital TV, then 2009 looks even worse. There doesn’t seem to be any real effort being made by any of the networks – they really look like they don’t care (paid off by Foxtel?).

    Even if they bother with a second channel, they’ve sold all their good shows to pay TV so what’s left? Sport? F*#king sport? Not everyone in this country is a sports freak.

    Bah! This country is becoming a joke.

  6. slightly off topic, but is it possible that 7 is planning a comedy channel for its 2nd HD channel. almost every new comedy in 2009 has gone to 7; gary unmarried, in the motherhood, castle, cupid, the goode familyas well as my HIMYM, earl, scrubs, 30rock, philepalphia, my own worst enemy, samantha who, US Kath&kim, family guy, american dad, according to jim and reaper. most of these are 7:30 shows and with all of 7’s factuals (and there is a lot) + other shows. it will be difficult for them to fit all of them into the year especially as some of them have 22 week seasons.

    i know there is talk of 7 doing a +2 but i think it would be smart to have (7:30 – 8:30) factuals on 7 and comedies on 7(2) for most of the year. that would capture a very large audience. and there would almost always be something to watch on.

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