Foxtel and Austar set to play nice with IPTV guys
Content for ACCC green light deal underway
Australian subscription TV incumbents Foxtel and Austar are set to offer selected exclusive content to ISPs in a bid to smooth the path to a green light for their $AU1.9 billion merger.
The Australian reports that the duo will be offering movie and lifestyle content for IPTV services as a way to placate the qualms of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which has been stalling on a decision.
The regulator was due to announce its decision in November but requested further submissions from Foxtel.
The ACCC continues to consult with the wider industry on the merits of the proposed merger but is scheduled to deliver its final decision in late March.
In July the ACCC flagged its concerns stating that the proposed acquisition was likely to result in a "substantial lessening of competition" in the national market for the supply of subscription television services; the national market for the acquisition of audio visual content; and a number of markets for the supply of telecommunications products.
The report stated that as Foxtel and Austar are the only significant providers of subscription television services in Australia, the proposed merger “would therefore effectively create a near monopoly subscription television provider across Australia.”
It added that the advent of the NBN (National Broadband Network) would most likely create industry changes that “will substantially increase the ability and incentive for Foxtel and Austar to compete with one another outside of their existing distribution regions. The proposed acquisition would prevent any such competition from occurring.” ®
Stupid TV policy in Australia
The two companies aren't allowed to compete anyway - foxtel only in the major metro areas and Austar everywhere else, despite having identical channel line ups. The only thing keeping them separated does is ensure the end user is slugged extra for equipment because they don't share satellite decoders.
I don't know who thought up the stupid policy and called it "competition" but it sure never has been
As a first step, how about getting Foxtel and Austar to stop forcing people to use their STB to view their channels. Smartcard, yes - STB, no!