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Freudenstein flags Foxtel growth

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Freudenstein flags Foxtel growth
Foxtel's CEO Richard Freudenstein still believes the pay-TV operator can snare more than 50% of Australian homes, but refused to give a time for when it would happen.

Speaking as part of sales house MCN’s upfront presentations to the media he said a raft of changes to the platform, including new technologies like the Foxtel Go iPad app, which has already become the number one free download on iTunes, would help them achieve the number.

Current penetration is only around 30%.

He said: “I see no reason in this market why we would not get that level of penetration. We will be using these new platforms and price points.

“Growth has been relatively slow for the last few of years, where consumers are being cautious at the moment.”

Fredenstein also flagged Foxtel would make steps into the social-TV space via its popular TV Guide app, which has already been downloaded by 1.2m people, with added functionality to come in the new year like sharability and recommendations.

He added they had a goal to cut churn rates of customers in regional areas down to the same level as those in metropolitan areas. 

He also flagged a change to ad break structures, saying: “We get customers saying there are too many ads and ad breaks.

“That’s a misconception, we actually have around ten minutes of ad breaks per hour. That’s around half the amount of some free-to-air networks in prime time.”

But he said there was no way to monetise the idea of allowing customers to choose which channels they wanted.

He also ruled out using the National Broadband Network as the primary method of getting signals into people’s homes, saying satellite would remain the primary method as it is cheapest, but the NBN would allow for extra catch-up services.

On the recently-completed NRL rights deal Freudenstein said they would push the quality and cross-platform nature of content.

He said: “The NRL deal is a big step forward for the overall subscription platform. If you look a bit deeper at the deal you will see Fox Sports has all the rights to put NRL games on (new app) Foxtel Go and I hope it pushes real engagement.”

Of the recent deal with HBO, which prevents other broadcasters from getting their programming for five years, he said that would help differentiate Foxtel “from any other platforms for at least five years”.

He set out the five areas the company was focussing on to grow, which were better content, a better viewer experience, customer focus, greater accessibility, and making the brand more aspirational.

However, he admitted there were difficulties fast-tracking shows from the US, as because of studio policies they often only receive them three hours before broadcast when it is aired in the US, and have to censor and sense check them in that time before they put them to air.

But, he added the policy which is being “copied from some free-to-air stations, was “doing a good job of deterring piracy”.

 

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