Fox FTA channel?

The rumours of Murdoch and Gordon buying TEN was that they wanted to use Fox-related content to bring the costs down for TEN. And use TEN to bid for FTA sporting rights that could be partnered with Fox Sports. It meant using Sky News, saving money on Australian content rules by using some Foxtel produced local content, and probably using a fair bit of Fox content too.

That idea died and Fox’s content deal has no home.

Is it likely that Fox still wants to create a channel? They can still take a few Sky News shows as rumoured, their first run content on Fox8, and some original drama and make a pretty good go of it at little expense, but they’d need a network to show their channel. And the multichannels have had low viewership in the past.

They could stream through Foxtel Now and a variety of set top boxes but that’s even less reach, and wouldn’t allow them to bid for FTA sport rights. Would being a multichannel on 7, 9 or 10 allow them to do that? Could they do that partnered with WIN (20% coverage), or does the antisiphoning law need nationwide FTA coverage.

Just wondering if this is possible or likely.

I doubt it. Unless the ABC or SBS, probably the latter, gets privatized or shut down, OR they force the remaining community TV stations off their spectrum and sell it to Australia’s answer to Dumb and Dumber, I can’t see it happening.

There might be more money in simply keeping it Foxtel exclusive or selling content to 7 and 9, without the added costs of owning a FTA channel.


I can’t see any of them doing a deal to host a channel that’s basically to promote the Foxtel platform.

No. Even though Foxtel might be producing programming that was shown on a FTA channel they would not have a FTA licence so could not bid on anti-siphon listed events.

We have seen how much of a failure the Fox Sports on ONE block has been. No thank you. Sporting bodies need to sign free to air deals with the main networks and not these shitty deals that does nothing to grow the sport.


Yes they could buy 7 or 9, or potentially ABC or SBS if the government goes crazy.

I was actually basing it on the premise that they couldn’t get their own network… might they still make a channel using the resources they already have, that could exist as a potential multichannel with 7, 9 or 10 (or WIN etc)?

I had been thinking that 7 or 9 or 10 get paid money for an ad channel currently, and could get the same or more for a Fox8 FTA channel, it’s all money. But yes they’d all be very wary promoting the Foxtel platform.

So if they co-owned a multi-channel (like Channel 11 which was 2/3 Ten, 1/3 CBS) they couldn’t bid on the Antisiphon list? I was wondering where the line was drawn.

Does that include WIN can’t bid on anti-siphon sports?

Given the Gordon+Lachlan plans for Ten (which failed), I would guess that working together another way like Fox buying into WIN is one of many options brainstormed. I’m just not clear on the options they have to achieve the original goals in other ways.

The trouble is Freeview Australia is very much a closed shop in the control of the free to air broadcasters. Food Network have got on their through partnering with SBS and a couple of cheap datacasting channels partnered with the commercial channels but there has been no sign of them willing to lease spectrum space to outsiders, even though that could be more lucrative than running an extra channel of their own.

The UK Freeview platform restricted existing broadcasters to about 50% of it’s spectrum when it launched, meaning there was room for those in the pay-TV market to take channels free to air. Sky have provided three channels since launch, including Sky News, but with relatively little original content - and certainly nothing of real value. UKTV though have probably been the breakout broadcaster and now have 4 free to air channels - most originally launched with archive content (generally from the BBC), but overtime they’ve established themselves with their own original content too, especially Dave - a male focused comedy channel.

I won’t say it will never happen, but at this point very unlikely… All FTA’s will want some control over content and adverts etc and the freedom to place infomercials on it if they wish - look at what the CBS deal where CBS too part ownership of 11 ended up - Ten wholly owned by CBS.

A more likely scenario is if any change to FTA structures with potential mergers would be either moving local news to a secondary channel in regional areas OR given that the 1 hour weekday game show format won’t work long term, we could see a return to a second game show on Nine and possibly on Seven, unless Seven bites the bullet and moves Home And Away to 5:30pm and air a 30 minute current affairs show at 7pm, in line with Ten and Nine. If the latter occurred, then the best move for 7 would be to move Home And Away to 7pm on 7flix. But given the unlikely scenario of the latter, regional areas may move local news to 5:30pm with the 5:30pm game show airing on 7Two (should they go back to a half hour game show at 5:30pm)

No, sports bodies need to gradually get off the teat of Foxtel and FTA and go direct to consumers. I pay for NBL access at $5 per month, which is great value. I get NRL and AFL through Telstra, although for 2018, I know it’s around $4 per month for NRL, which is good, but they’ve lost some digital rights to Nine. Don’t know about AFL. If the FFA had their own subscription service, I’d be set.

Notice I did say “gradually”. Over time, Foxtel will wither away, as they’ve proven time and time again, for the majority of Australians, it is not great value. FTA will eventually die as viewers go elsewhere and get sick of their crap.

Those prices all sound great, but they are all subsidised by FTA funding or Pay subs. I agree streaming is the way of the future (and now) but they are still drafting on the efforts of traditional media who have the man power, live trucks, HD equipment. If sports bodies go direct to consumer, the prices will be much, much higher.


True. And as someone who is quite reasonable at watching their pennies, I am dreading the day they will increase their prices. But it is going to happen in both instances. It’ll be how they manage it. People used to low prices or having it subsidised by telcos or incorporated into memberships will not like a massive jump. If you manage it properly, people won’t mind. If you can convince someone to pay for Netflix or Spotify, you might have half a chance of convincing someone to pay for streaming sport.

That’s what any new FTA is going to have to face up to.