Foxtel Management Pty Limited is an Australian pay television company, operating in cable television, direct broadcast satellite television, and IPTV streaming services. It was formed in 1995 through a joint venture established between News Corporation (now the present day News Corp; through News Limited, now News Corp Australia) and Telstra, with News Corp being the 65% and Telstra the 35% shareholders respectively. It shares many features with the Sky service in the United Kingdom, including iQ, the electronic program guide, a similar remote control, and Red Button Active.
|Industry||Pay TV, Broadband and Phone|
|Founded||22 October 1995|
|Patrick Delany (CEO)|
|Products||Satellite, Cable, IPTV|
|Owners||News Corp Australia (65%)|
Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited
In 1995, a venture between News Corporation (in particular 20th Century Fox Media) and Telstra took place whereby Telstra would transmit a TV signal through its coaxial network and News Corporation would be the basis for offering channel negotiations and connections. Foxtel was formed ("Fox" representing News Corporation's Fox and "Tel" representing Telstra). On 23 October 1995, Foxtel commenced a 20 channel service, delivered over the Telstra Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network.
In May 1998, Australis Media, the owner of a satellite television service known as Galaxy, was declared insolvent. In June 1998, Foxtel was able to significantly boost its customer base by acquiring Galaxy subscribers from the liquidator of Australis Media and immediately commenced supplying programming to Galaxy's subscribers on an interim basis. In February 1999, Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited bought half of News Corporation's shares in October 1998, giving each quarter ownership.
On 11 July 2011, Austar announced that "it had entered into definitive transaction agreements with Liberty Global, Inc. (LGI) and Foxtel Management Pty Limited (Foxtel) under which Foxtel will acquire Austar by a series of transactions including a scheme of arrangement (Scheme)." This takeover involved a minority shareholder approval on 30 March 2012, the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 10 April 2012, and has had approval from a Second Court Hearing. Austar shares were suspended from the ASX on 16 April 2012 and delisted on 27 April 2012. The takeover was completed on 24 May 2012.
News Corporation acquired Consolidated Media Holdings in November 2012, bringing its stake in Foxtel to 50%, up from 25%.
On 15 June 2015, Foxtel officially agreed to buyout 15% shares in Ten Network Holdings, subject to approval from the ACCC. Prior to the acquisition, Discovery backed out from bidding partnership with Foxtel.
In June 2017, Foxtel announced that it would be undergoing a major rebrand – the first in its 22-year history – as part of a move to convey an image that "Foxtel is for everyone". The former logo (inspired from the American Fox network's 1996–present logo), described by the company as "quite aggressive, quite arrogant, quite elitist", would be replaced with an all lowercase logo, and its Foxtel Play service would rebranded to Foxtel Now.
On 6 March 2018, News Corp Australia announced a merger of Fox Sports (Australia) with Foxtel (co-owned by News Corp Australia and Telstra). News Corp owns a 65 percent stake in the combined entity, with Telstra owning 35 percent. The combining of the two businesses places emphasis on live-streaming sports and entertainment.
Foxtel grew rapidly in 2007, with most of Foxtel's highest-ever rating events being broadcast that year, including the 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter-final between Australia and Japan, which drew an average of 419,000 viewers, an Australian pay television record at that time. This ratings record has since been eclipsed by the 2011 Rugby World Cup on Fox Sports 1 averaging around 500,000 viewers, which was smashed by the 2012 London Olympics Coverage, broadcast on 8 dedicated channels in both HD and SD formats, which saw an average of 946,432 viewers tuning in on the opening weekend, with around 600,000 to 700,000 viewers nightly thereafter.
As of 2012, Fox Sports channels, particularly Fox Footy, average between 90,000 and 300,000 + viewers for NRL/AFL matches throughout the week. The highest-rated light entertainment shows are The Simpsons most weeknights on FOX8 with around 110,000 viewers, as well as Family Guy with around 70,000 viewers. A&E has also recorded healthy audience numbers for its TruTV & A&E US syndicated shows from the US – Pawn Stars (85,000), Hardcore Pawn (85,000), and Storage Wars (90,000). BBC UKTV also consistently rates well with British soaps EastEnders (80,000) and Coronation Street (65,000). The LifeStyle channel has experienced audiences in excess of 100,000 people for its Premiere shows Location, Location, Location Australia, Grand Designs Australia, Selling Houses Australia, Disney Channel (Australia) and The Real Housewives of Melbourne brings strong ratings.
Foxtel transmits its cable service via Telstra hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable into the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth metropolitan areas, along with the Gold Coast. Foxtel now also transmits its satellite service into these cities as well as all over Australia including regional areas since the takeover of Austar, previous Austar customers are now 100% Foxtel customers with the conversion from Austar to Foxtel in regional Australia is now complete, however, satellite service is not supplied to user sites where Telstra HFC cable is available in metropolitan areas. Foxtel on Mobile launched on Telstra's Next G Network in late 2006 and is now available within Telstra Next G (HSDPA/850 MHz) coverage areas, which covers 99% of the population.
Telstra's network and Foxtel were created to combat the threat posed to Telstra's local call business by the combination of Optus Vision (now known as Optus TV) content bundling with Optus' local telephony services; Foxtel was the content arm of Telstra's defence strategy, while Telstra's multimedia broadband network was originally the sole delivery system.
In 2002, Foxtel and Optus Television agreed to a content-sharing arrangement. Programming competition between the two companies has now dissipated. Prior to its acquisition by Foxtel in 2011, Austar, a regional pay television operator, also carried most Foxtel programming.
As of 2011, Foxtel is Australia's largest pay television operator, with programming available to over 70% of Australian homes, and delivered to over 1.65 million, either directly or by Foxtel's wholesale customers. In April 2008, Foxtel's penetration into Australian homes passed 30%. This penetration rate is significantly lower compared with market penetration rates in the US (over 85%) and in Western Europe (over 55%). This is due to the fact that Australian pay-TV fees are significantly more expensive and pay-TV began delivering its service much later in Australia than in the US.
Foxtel announced its maiden annual profit in 2006, more than 10 years after it commenced services. The installation and maintenance of Foxtel services is Telstra's responsibility. In many markets Telstra has outsourced installation and maintenance to large communications contractors, including ABB Communications and Siemens-Thiess Communications Joint Venture.
In 2007, Network Ten formed an agreement with Foxtel to allow them to carry a digital version of Ten's programming. Included in the deal is electronic program guide data, which allows Foxtel iQ users to schedule recordings on Ten. Before the agreement, Ten was carried in an analogue format on cable only.
In 2008, Seven Network finally entered an agreement to allow Foxtel to carry its SD signal.
In 2008, the first Pay TV package comparison site YouCompare was launched to allow Foxtel packages and pricing to be compared to SelecTV, however this service was ceased along with the ceasing of SelecTV's service in late 2010.
On 15 November 2009, Foxtel released an additional 25 channels to satellite and cable subscribers, consisting of high definition channels, movie and theme channels, and several new time-shifted channels. As part of the release, Seven began broadcasting to satellite subscribers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
On 20 May 2010, Foxtel and Microsoft announced a new way of receiving Foxtel through Xbox 360's online service Xbox LIVE. The service launched November 2010 with 30+ channels and an additional 12 Video-on-demand channels. It also provided Foxtel's movie service, known as Foxtel On Demand, to non-subscribers for the first time on a pay-per-view basis. Further linear channels were added in April 2011 with the addition of 7 Telstra BigPond channels.
In June 2011, Foxtel launched an over-the-top service on Telstra's IPTV set top box called Foxtel on T-Box carrying the same services as the Foxtel on Xbox service. Also as of June 2011, Foxtel's subscribers numbered just over 1.65 million.
In November 2014, Foxtel added 2 new SD channels, 9 new HD channels and rebranded 2 sports channels to satellite and cable subscribers.
Foxtel defines a virtual channel order that groups channels by their content.
General entertainment channels are from 100 to 149 which includes metropolitan/state-based localised advertising primary channels the Nine Network, ABC, SBS, the Seven Network and Network 10, with metropolitan/state-based localised advertising multichannels ABC Comedy/ABC Kids, 7TWO, 7mate, 9Go!, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, SBS Viceland, SBS Food and NITV as well as national channels Fox Crime, Arena, LifeStyle, Fox8, Fox Funny, Fox Showcase, Fox Hits, Fox One, and MTV. Also for the following extra channels which are The Comedy Channel, Fox Sleuth, Comcast's Universal TV, BBC First and E!, LifeStyle Food, LifeStyle Home, Style, Fox Sci-Fi and Foxtel Arts.
Foxtel has announced key programming slated to air on its brand new channel, Binge. Binge is part of the Drama tier and started airing 5 October 2016 at 9:00am. It will be available on channel 116 in High Definition with access to Closed Captions and Series Link.
Timeshifted versions of general entertainment channels are from 150 to 169 for a two-hour delay of Fox8, Fox Crime, Fox Hits, Fox One, The Comedy Channel, Arena, LifeStyle, LifeStyle Food, Fox Funny, BBC First, Fox Showcase, Fox Sleuth and Fox Sci-Fi.
High definition channels are from 200 to 299 which includes metropolitan/state-based localised advertising versions of the ABC HD, 7HD, 9HD, 9Gem HD, 10 HD, SBS HD, Fox Sports News 500, Fox Cricket 501, Fox League 502, Fox Sports 503, Fox Footy 504, Fox Sports 505, Fox Sports 506, ESPN and ESPN2, As well as national channels A&E, Fox8 (native & SD upscaled), BBC First, Premiere, Kids, Family, Action, Comedy, Romance, Thriller, Hits, Drama, Discovery, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and BBC Earth.
Movie packaged channels are from 400 to 499 which includes Foxtel Movies Hits (themed movies and pop-up events), Premiere, Premiere 2, Fox Showcase, Fox Showcase 2, Action, Comedy, Romance, Kids, Family, Thriller, Hits, Drama and SBS World Movies.
Metropolitan/state-based localised advertising Sports Channels packaged channels are from 500 to 599 which includes Fox Sports News 500, Fox Cricket 501, Fox League 502, Fox Sports 503, Fox Footy 504, Fox Sports 505, Fox Sports 506, Disney's ESPN and ESPN 2, Eurosport, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, beIN Sports 3, Eurosport News, Main Event (pay-per-view), Sky Racing 1, Sky Racing 2, Sky Racing World and Racing.com.
Metropolitan/state-based localised advertising News, Coverage and informational channels are from 600 to 699 which includes Sky News Live, Sky News Weather Channel, Sky News UK, Fox News Channel, Warner Media's CNN International, National Geographic (with two-hour timeshifted version), Discovery (with two-hour timeshifted version), ABC News Australia, NBCUniversal's CNBC, A-PAC, BBC World News, Bloomberg Television, Al Jazeera English, CGTN News, CCTV-9 Documentary, NHK World and RT. Also included in the line-up are Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, History, A&E and CI, Discovery Communications' Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo MAX (with two-hour timeshifted version), Discovery Science, Discovery Home & Health, TLC and BBC Earth.
Pre-Teenage entertainment channels are from 700 to 799 which includes Viacom Media Networks channels Nickelodeon, Time Warner's Cartoon Network and ABC Me. Also included in the line-up are Nick Jr., CBeebies, Boomerang and Baby TV.
Audio only channels are from 830 to 899 which includes Foxtel Tunes (formerly known as Air Active), SBS AM, SBS FM, ABC NewsRadio, ABC Radio National, ABC Local Radio, ABC Local Radio NSW, ABC WA Goldfields, ABC Classic FM, ABC Triple J, Double J and ABC Jazz.
Interactive services available are Foxtel Tunes, Modem Connection Test, Sky News Weather Active, Fox Sports Active and TAB Active.
Channels that were re-branded include W (renamed SoHo), Fashion TV (replaced by FX/Fashion TV moved to Fetch TV), BBC HD (replaced by BBC UKTV HD), Fox Kids Australia (shared with Fox Classics), Weather 21 (replaced by The Weather Channel), The Weather Channel (replaced by Sky News Weather), Showtime Greats (replaced by Showtime Action, Showtime Comedy and Showtime Drama, both swallowed with Foxtel Movies), VH1 Australia (Replaced by MTV Classic), MTV Classic (moved to Fetch TV), MTV Hits and MTV Live HD (all three were both swallowed and rebranded as MTV Dance and MTV Music), Air Active (which was replaced by Foxtel Tunes), KidsCo (Replaced by Discovery Kids), Fuel TV, Speed (both replaced by Fox Sports 505 & 506 respectively), SoHo (Replaced by Binge) and Channel [V] (Replaced by [V] Hits).
Channels completely discontinued include MusicCountry, The Soundtrack Channel, Movie Network (replaced by Foxtel Movies), Showtime Network (replaced by Foxtel Movies), TechTV, Fashion TV (replaced by FX/Fashion moved to Fetch TV), Ovation, KidsCo, History+2, Starpics (replaced by Foxtel Movies), Gamesworld Interactive Games and the Interactive Sports Selector.
TV1 and SF ceased transmission at 11:59pm, 31 December 2013 after Foxtel chose not to renew their contracts as they wanted to bring as many channels in house as they did with their movie offerings. They were replaced by two new channels: Fox Crime and Fox Sci-Fi.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) was discontinued on 13 December 2016.
Although originally launching in 1995 with just a cable service, Foxtel has branched out into many new services since its inception including broadband and phone services in 2014.
Foxtel subscribers are able to access live and on-demand content within packages they are subscribed to through the internet via Foxtel Go.
Foxtel launched the Foxtel Go service on 7 November 2012. Originally, it was only available on iPad, but from 20 February 2013 it was also available on iPhone, and later on Mac, Windows PC and selected Android devices. Foxtel Go was launched after the success of its London 2012 app, which simulcast 8 live high definition channels that were also offered on the standard Foxtel service.
Access to the Foxtel Go app is free for residential customers with a set-top box and a Foxtel or Foxtel Now subscription, allowing access to any channel that they are subscribed to. Only five devices can be linked to an account during any given month with only two being able to view content at the same time.
Unlike Mobile Foxtel (provided by Telstra) – which only provides a loop of selected shows – Foxtel Go offers a live simulcast of s subset of channels available through the traditional cable and satellite services. The service also has no time limits; Mobile Foxtel offers only 15 minutes of programming per session, or a maximum 200 minutes per month.
Entertainment – Fox One; UKTV; Arena; MTV; Universal; Fox Crime; Fox Funny; Lifestyle; Discovery Channel; National Geographic; Disney Junior, Nick Jr.; Boomerang; [V] Hits; MTV Music; MTV Dance; Max; Country Music Channel; Sky News; Sky News Weather; Fox Sports News; CNN; BBC World News; CNBC.
Entertainment Plus – The Comedy Channel; Style; TLC; E!; A&E; Lifestyle Food; Lifestyle Home.
Kids – Disney Channel; Cartoon Network; CBeebies; Nickelodeon; Discovery Kids.
English Club Channels – Chelsea TV; Liverpool FC TV; Manchester United FC TV.
Drama – Fox Showcase; BBC First; Binge; 13th Street; BoxSets.
Sport – Fox Cricket; Fox League; Fox Sports 3; Fox Footy; Fox Sports 5; and Fox Sports 6; Fox Sports Plus 1-4; Eurosport; ESPN; ESPN 2; BeIN Sports 1-3.
Movies – Premiere; Kids; Action; Comedy; Romance; Family; Drama; Hits; Thriller; Greats.
Docos – History; Nat Geo Wild; Discovery Turbo; Nat Geo People; Animal Planet; Discovery Science; Crime + Investigation; BBC Earth.
The Foxtel Go also offers an on demand service for most channels listed above including sports channels.
Foxtel Now (Formerly Foxtel Play) is an internet television alternative to the traditional Foxtel subscription, offering customers a no lock in contract subscription starting at $10. The service offers over 50 live channels and hundreds of hours of video on-demand content across 6 subscription packages.
The service is available across a range of devices such as computers, TVs and video game consoles. In addition, subscribers have access to Foxtel's Foxtel Go app expanding access to smartphones and tablets.
On 4 October 2016, Foxtel announced that a new look Foxtel Play streaming service will roll out from December 2016 and that Foxtel Play will be a simpler, cheaper and more flexible IP-delivered product.
As part of a company wide rebrand in June 2017, Foxtel announced that from 7 June, Foxtel Play would be renamed Foxtel Now and would gain HD streaming and Chromecast support with a lower starting price of $10 per month.
On 5 December 2009, Foxtel launched a mobile TV guide for the Apple iPhone, dubbed "Foxtel Guide". Features include: remote record for iQ and iQ2, free to air listings, program descriptions and classifications. The application is free to download from the iPhone App Store and is available to non-subscribers (with the exception of the ability to remote record). On 25 February 2011, Foxtel released an Android application which is available as a free app from Google Play. The app is optimised for both Android smartphones and tablets.
The Foxtel magazine contains daily listings for most channels offered on the Foxtel platform.
Foxtel subscribers can opt-in and subscribe to the Foxtel magazine for a monthly fee. Legacy Foxtel Platinum subscribers who opted in for the magazine prior to the Platinum magazine unbundling period in mid-2010, currently still continue to get the magazine free of charge.
Foxtel's magazine is Australia's most-read paid-for monthly magazine, with a monthly reach of about 700,000. It is published for Foxtel by Medium Rare Content Agency, and distributed to Foxtel subscribers (who choose to pay for this service) by via post.
Foxtel no longer offers the magazine free to new "Platinum" subscribers. The change to this policy was introduced by Foxtel to reduce physical waste (paper and associated environmental impact) from printing the monthly magazine, and to reduce monthly costs associated with printing and posting overhead for the Foxtel magazine, to all legacy Platinum customers who decided not to opt-in during the opt-in period in early 2010.
As of February 2016, the magazine no longer lists the sports channels.
In August 2018, Foxtel launched a streaming VOD (video on demand) movie service called FoxFlicks. This service is available to subscribers who have either the movie pack or platinum pack with the new iQ4 set-top-box.
Foxtel launched its digital service (Foxtel Digital) in March 2004. The service is loosely based on another of News Corporation's subscription providers, BSkyB. Features of the digital service include:
- Switching to widescreen for most channels
- Selected movies in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
- Pay-per-view and Near Video on Demand services
- Interactive television services including multiple camera angle sports, news, games and others
- An Electronic program guide
- "+2" timeshift channels of popular channels, showing programs two hours later than the original channel
Like many other News Corporation-owned digital platforms, Foxtel uses NDS Group encryption system, electronic program guide and digital video recorder services, the OpenTV interactive platform, and primarily runs on Pace Micro Technology set-top boxes.
Foxtel's satellite service transmits exclusively from the Optus C1 satellite on a primary downlink frequency of 12.438 GHz expanded to adjacent frequencies, with further expansion during November 2009 of frequencies on the Optus D3 satellite. The Telstra hybrid fibre-coaxial cable carries Foxtel with an approximate downstream bandwidth of 560 MHz with an upstream return (for internet, on-demand, phone and other two-way dependent services) bandwidth of 2.4 MHz.
As of April 2007, all Foxtel subscribers are using the digital set-up, making Foxtel Digital synonymous with the standard Foxtel service.
Foxtel announced their high definition service, originally called Foxtel HD+, on 30 January 2008. It became officially available on 19 May 2008 at a nominal price of $10 AUD despite similar "HD" resolution broadcast channels already available on free-to-air television. HD+ launched with four channels; BBC HD, ESPN HD, Fox Sports HD and a timeshared documentary channel for Discovery HD World and National Geographic HD programming. Foxtel Box Office also began simulcasting in high definition.
On 15 November 2009, another ten high definition channels were launched; Fox Sports 2 HD, Fox Sports 3 HD, Fox8 HD, Movie One HD, Showcase HD, Showtime Action HD, Showtime Premiere HD, Starpics 1 HD, Starpics 2 HD and W HD. BBC HD was relaunched as UKTV HD and the timeshared documentary channel was split into full time versions of Discovery HD World and National Geographic HD. The pricing and packaging of the HD+ channels was also revised.
BBC Knowledge HD, MTVN Live HD, Nat Geo Wild HD and Speed HD launched almost a year later on 1 November 2010. ESPN 2 HD and Lifestyle HD launched on 1 March 2011. A&E HD, Fox Footy HD and FX HD launched in late February 2012. Eight new high definition channels for the London Olympics began broadcasting on 25 July 2012. Foxtel launched eight new high definition movie channels on 1 January 2013, replacing the five existing high definition movie channels from Showtime and The Movie Network. The new channels included Action/Adventure HD, Comedy HD, Drama/Romance HD, Family HD, Masterpiece HD, Premiere HD and Thriller/Crime HD. Main Event HD began broadcasting on 3 September 2013.
Syfy HD launched on 1 January 2014. Foxtel added Disney Movies HD on 10 April 2014. UKTV HD was replaced with BBC First HD on 3 August 2014. On 3 November 2014, nine new high definition channels were launched; 13th Street HD, Arena HD, BoxSets HD, Eurosport HD, Fox Sports 4 HD, Fox Sports News HD, History HD, Universal HD and World Movies HD. Speed HD was also relaunched as Fox Sports 5 HD at the same time. Binge HD launched on 5 October 2015. Sky News National HD began broadcasting on 1 December 2015, with Sky News Business HD beginning on 19 January 2016. Foxtel Arts HD began broadcasting in March 2016. On 1 April 2016, Sky Thoroughbred Central HD launched. Sky News Election Channel HD launched on 1 May 2016. Foxtel added another high definition movie channel with More Movies HD launching on 1 July 2016.
In response to Optus Sports winning the rights to the English Premier League, Foxtel launched six new high definition sports channels on 15 May 2016. These included beIN Sports 1 HD, beIN Sports 2 HD, beIN Sports 3 HD, Chelsea TV HD, LFCTV HD and MUTV HD. Sky News Election Channel HD was replaced with A-PAC HD in January 2017. Movie Greats HD was added on 23 March 2018. Sky News UK HD launched as a standalone channel on 27 May 2018 with A-PAC HD also rebranding to Sky News Extra HD. Fox News Channel HD launched in November 2018.
A retransmission of the free-to-air networks' high definition channels is also available to high definition cable subscribers and satellite subscribers with an iQ3 set-top box or later. These channels include ABC HD, SBS HD, SBS Viceland HD, SBS World Movies HD, 7HD, 9HD, 9Gem HD and 10 HD.
Foxtel on Demand
Foxtel on Demand was a service offered by Foxtel to iQ subscribers that allowed people to watch selected shows and movies whenever they wanted. Foxtel on Demand was launched on 8 February 2007, with a variety of programmes and included the entire second season of Love My Way.
The service was available to all Foxtel customers with an iQ set top unit, however the programming able to be played was typically restricted to the channels that the customer was subscribed to. For example, customers not subscribed to the movie channels were not able to view the stored movies.
On 1 October 2009, Foxtel launched an online download service which allows all cable and satellite customers to access Foxtel content via their computer. The service is free for customers, who can download programs from channels within their subscription package. There is currently one live streaming channel, ESPN3, while the remainder of the service provides episodes of programs from 38 channels. Then CEO, Kim Williams, highlighted that Foxtel planned to expand its live streaming channel range later in the year to coincide with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the launch of thirty new channels for Foxtel Digital and HD. This service has been the source of great controversy as there was no support for Linux, Mac or any 64 bit Windows Operating Systems, leaving many users unable to install the client. Foxtel Download was discontinued in September 2012, with the service no longer being available to subscribers.
Launched in late 2006 to coincide with Telstra's NextG 3G Mobile phone network, Mobile Foxtel (previously Foxtel By Mobile) offers 33 standard channels of programming for a small subscription fee, optimised for mobile devices. At present the channels available are: Sky News National, Your Money, CNN, Fox Sports News, Fox8, The Comedy Channel, MTV, E! Entertainment, Fashion TV, Discovery Mobile, Disney Channel, Eurosport, Union Extreme Sports, Cartoon Network, TV1, National Geographic, ABC, SBS One and Eurosportnews.
With the exception of CNN, Fashion TV, Eurosportsnews, Eurosport, Fox News, BBC World News and Fox Sports News, which are direct simulcasts of the actual channel and Sky News channels which are taken from the Sky News Active service, all channels are pre-produced loops that do not directly correlate to the full scale satellite/cable channel. At present, a limit of 200 minutes per month, with 15 minutes per session, may apply to the service, although this has not been strictly enforced.
Foxtel on Xbox 360 and Internet TV
Foxtel launched in November 2010 for the Xbox 360 games console, offering 38 channels, catch-up television and on-demand movie streaming. It requires both an Xbox Live Gold subscription and a Foxtel subscription. Samsung Smart TVs received the same service at no additional cost in July 2012. This has been replaced with Foxtel Now.
In 2014, Foxtel launched a movie streaming operation Presto, which was initially priced at AU$19.99, but was halved a few months later. Presto was spin-off a television streaming service with Seven West Media in early 2015.
Foxtel devices are manufactured by Pace plc on behalf of Foxtel - they have manufactured a variety of devices including:
There is a variety of Foxtel standard units. These lack the recording features of the iQ models, but can be connected to a VCR or DVR. Foxtel has phased out the standard boxes for all new installations and installs the iQ3/4 instead. The additional features of the iQ models (such as recording) can be deactivated if the customer does not wish to pay for them, in effect making them operate as if they were a standard model.
Foxtel launched Foxtel iQ in early 2005. It is a timeshifting personal digital recorder in which subscribers are able to record programs onto a hard drive inside the set-top unit for later viewing. Foxtel iQ includes a feature called Series Link, which lets the viewer choose to record all future episodes in a given television series (availability is limited to certain programmes). Foxtel iQ also allows viewers to use live rewind and pause features during television programmes. Two new services, On Demand and Remote Record, launched in 2007. Remote Record was launched on 1 January 2007 and allows users to log into the interactive TV guide on the Foxtel website and then command their iQ at home to record shows, while on Demand was launched on 8 February 2007. This service is based on Sky+, which was launched on News Corporation's UK television platform Sky in 2001. There are currently two models of Foxtel iQ, with identical functionality to the user but different audio-visual output abilities. Both models have two tuners, allowing users to record two programs (or record one and watch one) simultaneously. Pace plc are the set top box provider for iQ, of which they claim that the cable version of iQ is the first DVB-based cable digital video recorder.
The updated version of the original iQ unit is physically smaller, however allows for better quality recordings and HDMI up-scaling as well as an Ethernet Port to allow Box Office downloads. It can also order On Demand titles without the need of the phone line connected to the model. Within Foxtel and Telstra, these boxes are referred to as iQ 1.5 to differentiate them from the original IQ boxes. As of 1 March 2017, these boxes are no longer available to new customers.
Foxtel's second generation iQ, the Foxtel iQ2 was launched alongside the Foxtel HD+ service in mid-2008. Equipped with a 320GB HDD, iQ2 is capable of recording 30 hours of HD and 90 hours of SD content and offers, double that of the original iQ. The unit also offers HDMI connectivity.
The iQ2 is equipped with four tuners, allowing users to record two programs at once while watching a third live. The fourth tuner is reserved for on demand content.
On 2 November 2011, Foxtel started notifying subscribers of the option to upgrade (at an additional one-off $200 upgrade fee) to the new iQ2 1TB model with 4 times the recording capacity.
Foxtel's third generation iQ model, iQ3, was first referenced by CEO Richard Freudenstein in March 2012, and was released to customers on 23 March 2015. The iQ3 contains increased internet connectivity with the inclusion of WiFi, the ability to rewind to the beginning of a program midway through a program even if the viewer was not viewing the channel at the time of the start of the program. The iQ3 includes a 1TB HDD (3x the capacity of the previous iQHD) and a bluetooth remote. After the release, many customers had complaints due to the unstable nature of the iQ3 graphical user interface and have accused Foxtel of releasing an 'unfinished product'. Foxtel denied such claims as newfound market rival Netflix emerged. As of November 2015, instability issues are yet to be resolved.
Foxtel's fourth generation iQ model, iQ4 was launched in August 2018 and is 4K compatible. Foxtel launched Foxtel 4K, a dedicated 4K channel on October 7, 2018, with the broadcast of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Advertising on Foxtel
When Foxtel was launched in 1995, advertising during programs was banned under Australian Government legislation for the first two years. Foxtel has since significantly increased advertising across its platform, although still today legislation prevents Foxtel and other pay TV businesses from earning more than 50% of their revenue from advertising. Sometimes, viewers are exposed to up to 5min worth of adverts for every 8 minutes of programming. Certain programming on select channels are broadcast ad-free such as movies on their movie channels and selected live games on Fox Sports but in-between each program Foxtel would then stream many ads giving a long time between the end of one movie and the start of the next.
EOFYS (pronounced \ 'E o f\os') is an acronym originating from Australia referring to an "End of Financial Year Sale". Its first use was in a 2009 Foxtel advertising campaign created by Three Drunk Monkeys. Since the Foxtel advertisement, other Australian businesses and advertising firms have taken licence to adopt the term, and it has become an acceptable part of the Australian lexicon and verbal nomenclature referring to businesses offerings before the Australian financial year end on 30 June.
Legislation affecting Foxtel
The Australian anti-siphoning laws also prevent Foxtel and other pay TV suppliers from acquiring exclusive rights to specific sporting events such as cricket, golf, tennis and the football codes. Under the legislation pay TV licensees are prevented from bidding for major sporting events until a right is acquired by the ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten networks. In 2009, the Minister for Communications announced a review of the legislation. In an Olympics year, the Australian anti-siphoning list runs to over 1300 events and is one of the longest in the world.
Third party access
Foxtel prevents users from using their subscription card in a third-party decoder, and requires all users to watch the service on a supplied set-top box, included with the subscription, however some users have reported being able to watch certain channels on a computer with a DVB-C card and using sasc-ng to decrypt the video content using card readers to read the decoding keys stored on the card used in Foxtel's iQ.
On 24 May 2012, Foxtel merged with Austar, resulting in Foxtel gaining Austar's shares in XYZnetworks (which Foxtel closed and created Foxtel Networks), as well as their shares in Main Event. The channels owned by Foxtel include:
- Fox Sleuth
- Fox Sci Fi
- Fox Crime
- Fox One
- Fox Funny
- Fox Hits
- Fox Classics
- Fox Showcase
- The Comedy Channel
- Foxtel Movies
- Sky News Weather Channel (under licence from Sky News Australia, who operates the channel)
- Crime + Investigation
- Sky News Extra (formerly A-PAC)
- Nickelodeon (35%; joint venture with ViacomCBS International Media Networks Asia)
- Nick Jr. (35%; joint venture with ViacomCBS International Media Networks Asia)
- Cartoon Network (joint venture with Warner Bros.)
- Foxtel Smooth
- Foxtel Arts
- [V] (formerly [V] Hits)
- Country Music Channel
- Main Event Television (66.6%; joint venture with Optus Television)
- Adults Only
- Main Event
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