Foxtel again flags passing on retransmission costs to subscribers

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Foxtel has warned it would need to pass on any Free to Air retransmission costs to subscribers, in the latest shot across the bow in media reforms.

Proposals by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on media ownership would require Foxtel to pay Seven, Nine and TEN a fee to retransmit their signals, if they were passed by legislation.

News Corp suggests the costs could range from tens of millions of dollars to more than $100 million annually.

But Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein has again indicated such costs would be passed onto subscribers, with no indication if any costs would eat into company profits.

“Why should we be charged a fee which is passed on to our subscribers for something that everyone else gets for free?” he asked.

“Why should they pay while everyone else gets it for free?”

“If there is a recommendation to introduce a retransmission rule we think that is anti-consumer and specifically anti-Foxtel subscribers.”

Free to Air networks have long been advocating for fees to be applied for retransmission.

The Lewis Report also recently recommended, “The ABC and SBS could achieve a significant saving if they no longer bought satellite capacity to provide their services on Foxtel.”

Richard Freudenstein also called for reforms to see a major shake up of the anti-siphoning list.

“We support deregulation but it clearly has to be deregulation that applies across the industry and does not advantage incumbent free-to-air broadcasters at the expense of everyone else,” he told the newspaper.

15 Comments:

  1. This is nothing more than a blatant cash grab by the networks. There is only upside to the FTA networks being available on Foxtel. The networks need to get on board with the fact it ain’t the 1980’s and they no longer rule the universe.

  2. Why does Foxtel have channel 9 on channel 100 ?? Channel 7 is on 107 & TEN is on 110 so why can’t Nine be on 109 ???

    Also wish Foxtel would stop showing show promo’s they are very annoying. Fox Footy should be on channel 506 (Not 504) so Fox Sports has channels 501 to 505

  3. If FTA networks push for this retransmission fee than Foxtel should move all FTA channels into a package and charge what ever the fee is for them.

    I sure as hell don’t want my subscription increasing due to channels I don’t care for.

  4. Simple solution for me: If FTA decide to pull their stations off Foxtel or if Foxtel charges for the privilege then I’ll cut off the FTA channels off Foxtel and use my T-Box.

  5. I can’t see how this would work seeing Mystar boxes have a tuner that needs an aerial and wouldn’t be costing Foxtel retransmission fees.

  6. I agree with @JohnTV

    If Foxtel raises prices even $5 for FTA people will start to dump the service. And if Foxtel removes the FTA channels from it’s service (baring in mind that the most watched chanenls on Foxtel ARE the FTA channels) then people will start watching FTA via their tuner and less Foxtel, and that in turn too will lead to churn.

    The most watched and most popular channels on Foxtel are the FTA channels. Foxtel benefits by having them on their platform. Why do you think TVHITS, Fox8 and Lifestyle are all scattered amoingst 7, 9 and Ten. It helps Foxtel to carry those channels – they should paying for them.

  7. ah, yeah that is going to happen – Not. Watch how that causes Foxtel’s churn on business to skyrocket !! If Foxtel drops the FTA, people will watch them via their TV tuner and not channel surf through the Foxtel channels and watch what that does to churn as well.

    The FTA should be able to charge a fee for re-transmission on Foxtel when they start paying their transmission fees to the Federal Government (aka the Australian people) again. Sorry, boys can’t have it both ways !!!

  8. It needs to be mentioned the benefits of having Free to Air on Foxtel shows can be recorded. It will be adding the rest by having a free to air tuner. I can understand that there is re-transmission fees in some countries I just wish Free TV and Foxtel would sit down and work all this out these have been long standing arguments that gets brought up through different news of the day. Hopefully this legislation or separate agreement will bring definitive decisions once and for all.

  9. What total B.S.FTA should be very happy as they reach parts of Australia now where people have trouble picking up certain FTA channels in the past.

  10. Why should Foxtel pay? If anything, the FTA’s should be paying Foxtel for having their channels on board as it gives more of a chance for people to watch FTA without switching devices. A few people I know who have Foxtel often get “lazy” with switching devices – and end up never watching anything on GEM, 7mate and ONE as a result (happens at our place too sometimes!).

    There is alot of admin on Foxtels side to look after the FTA re transmissions mostly in maintaining the EPG – which Foxtel updates themselves, it is not dependent on the FTA EPGs you get along with the signal. There is also the fact they effectively have to carry multiple version of each FTA channel just to cover different markets.

  11. Please: make it optional or just drop all FTA channels.
    This household would barely notice – only SBS drama would be missed and we could still get it via an aerial rather than through the Fox box. All the other FTA is just unwanted.

    • Putting an FTA tuner in the IQ3 makes Foxtel’s position clear.

      The FTA networks should be able to stop Foxtel rebroadcasting their signal if they want to. Then they can sort it out amongst themselves. Foxtel isn’t going to pay for satellite transmission for the competitors, they will have to pay that. Whether Foxtel should pay for rebroadcasting on cable or whether FTA should be paying for access to the IQ we shall see.

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