Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany Warns Senate About “Dangerous Outcome” Of Smart TV Prominence Reforms

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany Warns Senate About “Dangerous Outcome” Of Smart TV Prominence Reforms

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany has warned the Senate that moves to give free-to-air (FTA) networks prominence on BVOD apps and smart TVs would lead to a “dangerous outcome” for consumers.

Speaking in front of the Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee on Friday, Delany said “Australian consumers just want to get to content they love. When you start legislating to alter search results, you will get a distorted outcome, especially as devices get to know you and your preferences. It is a dangerous ­outcome”.

“There is a murkiness now. We support the legislative attempt of anti-siphoning in ensuring Australians can see events of national and cultural significance for free. But two of the FTA networks are now pay TV companies,” he said.

Delany went on to warn that, despite getting FTA priority when it came to sporting rights, none of the FTA have any obligation to put them on free channels.

“In the case of Nine or Ten, when they acquire the rights there is no obligation for them to put on free channels. It is a very dangerous situation. It distorts the market and will have a very big effect on grassroots and sports.

“The privilege that FTA already has in being first to the table to acquire all the rights on the list is extensive, with the number of events on there currently.

Delany stressed the importance of moving with the times and considering newer forms of media.

“There is a tentative effort not to move where the world has moved to. We are operating as if everyone is watching TV through an aerial. We can’t ignore YouTube and TikTok. Younger viewers are not just about streaming and broadcast TV.

“Given over 90 per cent of the country can access NBN, you can afford it if you bundle up digital rights. You are giving FTA more power.”

Delany followed speakers from ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine, and Network 10 who were arguing that anti-siphoning laws should be strengthened to protect local content makers.

It was a big week for Foxtel, who launched its new entertainment platform Hubbl last week. 

 




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