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New box to win back eyeballs

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Foxtel is fighting back after a self confessed “dreary” 18 month subscriber slump with a fresh IP centric set top box attack. Australia’s biggest PayTV provider conceded that the free to air channel’s Freeview offering and new IPTV providers had taken their toll on the Foxtel model.

“Freeview has temporarily taken our ‘choice’ proposition with a fresh multi-channelling proposition at a great price. At the same time new ’over-the-top’ entrants have challenged our “depth of choice and control” message,” Foxtel CEO Kim Williams said.

Williams said that Foxtel would attempt to win back market share with a refreshed commitment to differentiated content, much of it unique whether commissioned, produced or acquired. Foxtel’s key weapon will be it’s next generation HD hybrid set top box “with all its new IP smarts.”

The new assault will be backed by “HD, interactivity, search and recommendation and extensive social media integration” which will all be core elements of the experience.

The new set-top box, which is due in the 2012-2013 financial year, will offer web based interfaces, search and recommendation functions, and cloud- based content storage. Foxtel hopes that the new IP centric strategy will stem the flow of rapid decline in the wholesale numbers.

Williams added that cloud centric solutions will be core to Foxtel’s evolving strategy in addition to content delivered across a wide range of platforms including “computers, pads and tablet devices of rich assortment and more centrally important, smart phones.”

While broadcasting would remain core, Williams said “the Cloud, and the application of the ‘wisdom of crowds’, will continue to grow in importance.” ®

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