Foxtel: anti-siphoning list “ridiculous”

Foxtel: anti-siphoning list “ridiculous”
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The new set-top box, iQ3, Foxtel is preparing to unveil next year will be able to drive every connected household device, according to Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein.

Freudenstein said the third generation set-top box and digital recorder, which Foxtel first revealed at its recent upfronts presentation, will feature nine tuners allowing three programs to be recorded at once while another is being watched.

“You will be able to drive every device in the home from this one box, not straight away but eventually,” he said.

The iQ3 will “completely change the user experience”, featuring linear channels interspersed with on-demand programming its interface will become personalised based on individual viewing habits over time.

Investing in technology is a major focus for Foxtel, according to Freudenstein who revealed that the satisfaction ratings of its customers who use the Foxtel Go app “are way through the roof”.

Customer advocacy and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are the metrics Foxtel judges itself on, much more than television ratings.

“More and more we don’t think about overnight ratings because we are not driven by advertising revenue,” he said, also revealing for the first time that advertising accounts for less than 10% of its revenue.

“We certainly don’t live or die on the overnight ratings, we don’t live or die on the cumulative ratings either. It is indicative of where things are going but for us it is much more about getting people to be willing to say Foxtel is great.”

In addition to investing in technology, the Foxtel strategy is focused on driving subscriptions through different level packages and investing in original dramas.

Describing drama as a “real opportunity” for Foxtel he revealed it has a number of dramas in the pipeline and said Foxtel is committed to telling more Australian stories as its revenue grows.

“Wentworth is a great example of a beautifully scripted, beautifully shot piece that you wouldn’t see on free-to-air television because it is just that little bit beyond free-to-air television.”

Anti-siphoning

When asked if he thought Foxtel was on a level regulatory playing field with the FTA industry he laughed and said: “How long have you got. No, let me count the ways.”

He said the sport anti-siphoning list was “ridiculous” and called on the government to let the sporting bodies decide.

“There are just so many events on the anti-siphoning list for free-to-air which just aren’t in the national interest,” he said.

“I’m not going to sit here and say there should be nothing because that’s unrealistic, but let’s come up with a reasonable list that lets the market compete.”

He said anything the FTA networks weren’t showing before the subscription TV industry came along and “why anything overseas has to be on the list I think is ridiculous”.

“Put it in the hands of the sporting bodies as much as possible because they will determine what is right in terms of the mix of free-to-air versus paid,” Freudenstein added.

“That should be their right to do it. What that would mean is more money going into sport, which could have all sorts of beneficial effects for the Australian economy, on health and on all sorts of things with grassroots sport.”

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