Foxtel CEO Kim Williams this week appeared on Sky Business Channel’s MediaWeek programme, speaking to the launch in Pay TV this week.
He also addressed questions regarding outstanding Free to Air channels still unavailable on the Foxtel platform. Some channels will be added in November -but it depends if you are a cable or satellite customer.
“On cable you’ll see the Nine GO! Channel launch on the 24th of November,” said Williams. “You’ll see the Seven primary digital service launch on satellite from November the 15th when all of our new channels go up.
“And you’ll see the Seven second service, subject to contractual things still being worked through… with the Seven Network one always needs to have some caution on these matters, if I can be forgiven for making a slight editorial comment… but they will be there on or around the 24th of November. But if they’re well behaved, it’ll be the 24th of November.”
This means that after Seven launches its new digital channel on 72 the full suite of digital channels will be available to cable viewers only.
“The full suite will be up on cable,” said Williams. “On satellite of course we make the simple request that they pay the cost of being on the satellite in the same way we have to pay for all of the other channels. They pay exactly the same costs as we do. If they don’t wish to pay that costs, well, they’re not on the satellite.”
Williams also indicated there would still be quite a bit of bandwidth left on the satellite.
There have also been industry rumours that commercial FTA Perth and Adelaide may not be appearing on the Foxtel platform.
When it comes to FTA channels on Foxtel, a spokesperson told TV Tonight:
“The Foxtel service does not guarantee subscribers access to all of the commercial free to air channels via retransmission.
“Retransmission of individual free to air channels is dependant upon each channel entering into a retransmission agreement with FOXTEL, and also depends upon the area in which the subscriber lives.”
Meanwhile Foxtel sales and product development executive director Patrick Delany told CNet the iQ2Go was still some 12 months off. It was originally promised for the first half of 2009.
“The iQ2Go has had many forms over the last five years. It started out as a ‘Moses-like’ tablet with its own spinning disk drive, then it moved to being a USB key and I think we’re now feeling that iQ2Go becomes even more ephemeral than that,” he said.
Following some questions on the Next Generation launch this week, a Foxtel spokesperson clarified some further points to TV Tonight:
Existing customers can either stay on their current packaging or move to the new packaging and choose to take an iQ Value Pack which comes with the free iQ set-top-unit.
If they stay on their current packaging they receive, like all subscribers, a significant increase in value including new channels, more interactive applications, enhanced navigation features and a fully refreshed EPG.
The vast majority of existing customers’ price will experience a minor increase of between $2 to $4 depending on the package that they are on.
e.g. Platinum Customers prices increase from $106 per month to $110 per month – which represents a less than 2% annual increase over two years. As you know, these customers receive 12 additional SD channels, 8 timeshift channels, the new iQ Guide, Foxtel Download and new enhancements like iSuggest and Record Me.
Foxtel will move some existing customers to comparable iQ Value Packs to provide them with additional channels and services in line with the timing announced today but at a lower price than they are paying today.
For new customers we have recognised the fact that almost 80% of new customers last year took an iQ.
So we have sought to structure the range of our iQ Value Packs in a way that recognises this fact.
The iQ Value Packs offer better value (at a lower price) when compared with comparable offerings in our old package structure.
For instance: the equivalent of a Sports iQ Value Pack in our old packaging would have cost $91 prior to the changes we announced today from 1 October, will cost only $88.
Similarly, the equivalent of a Gold iQ Value Pack in our old packaging would cost $107 per month whereas it will now be available for only $100 per month.