There are interesting comments today from Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein in the debate over anti-siphoning list reform and whether the subscription TV industry should be paying Free to Air industry a retransmission fee for airing their content.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering potential change.
“Deregulation provides us with the opportunity to explore the implementation of an arrangement in which free-to-air and subscription broadcasters reach commercial arrangements that recognise the value of retransmission to each party,” he has noted.
But Richard Freudenstein is dead against STV having to pay retransmission rights, and hints at such costs being passed on to customers.
“Why should Foxtel customers pay for anything that everyone else gets for free?” he told the Australian Financial Review.
“We provide a great service for the free-to-airs for all their channels on the front page of our electronic programming guide so they get plenty of viewing in Foxtel homes, helping them to get more advertising.”
With the advent of multichannels, Foxtel has faced increased Freeview competition, which no doubt has added to the STV provider’s penetration stagnating at around 30% of Australian homes.
But while Freudenstein talks up the FTA channels on the front page of their EPG, it has scattered the multichannels such as GO!, 7TWO, ELEVEN, ABC News 24 and SBS 2 all around the guide.
Some are listed as Entertainment channels, others are filed under HD channels. None are listed alongside their primary channel, Seven, Nine, TEN, ABC and SBS.
Last I checked ABC3 was an ABC channel. SBS 2 was an SBS channel.
In multiple annual Audience Inventory surveys, TV Tonight readers have voted “Aligning all FTA channels on the EPG Menu” as their #1 concern.
But will the upcoming IQ3 bother to put them together under a FTA category? Such a move would only reiterate the growth of Freeview. Don’t hold your breath.