The appeal of new products and services on subscription TV (STV) continues to be supported by investment in outstanding Australian content across many genres. Most recently we have seen that Location, Location, Location Australia on The LifeStyle Channel and Camp Orange on Nickelodeon are both proving popular with audiences.
Viewers have also flocked to the new FOX FOOTY channel which last weekend reached a total of 1.7 million people. New international channels A&E and FX have proved popular with series such as Pawn Stars and The Walking Dead (Season 3 starts in October), respectively. In September, FX will air the new locally produced UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) series The Smashes which will see an Australian team go up against a UK team across two different weight categories. The Smashes is part of the historic broadcast agreement between Foxtel and the UFC which will see exclusive content aired across Fuel TV, Main Event and FOX SPORTS. Also on the schedule for local productions is the History Channel’s The People Speak, Crime & Investigation Networks (CI) Territory Cops and the second series of Rove, filmed in LA for FOX8. The Aurora Community Channel is airing a raft of locally produced programs such as the National Wheelchair Rugby Finals, a special on Youth Homelessness called The Oasis and the Dance Cancer Initiative. The music channels are introducing new formats including The Essential 20 with Jabba on MAX and MTV Style Me on MTV.
STV continues to increase its share of viewing across all markets with a review of Q2 2012 (Weeks 14- 36) showing an increase in share of viewing by 9% in Metro, 5% in Regional and 5% in STV homes when compared to the same period in 2011. In ASTRA’s summary STV At A Glance we see that popular series from Q2 included Selling Houses Australia and Grand Designs Australia on The LifeStyle Channel, Cricket Superstar and Dating in the Dark on FOX8, and King’s Cross ER on Crime & Investigation Network.
As Foxtel rolls out its new branding to reflect a national subscription television service, there is continued focus on multi-platform delivery. Foxtel and Samsung recently announced that they have launched Foxtel on Internet TV across Australia. This service allows owners of compatible Samsung Smart TV’s to watch up to 30 live streaming Foxtel channels including FOX8, Discovery, FOOTY PLAY powered by FOX Sports, showcase, ESPN, Cartoon Network and other leading channel brands without a term contract or set top box installation. The offering on Samsung is one of the steps Foxtel is taking to make the service more accessible as well as offering a variety of packages at different price points. The launch of the Foxtel Olympics app also adds another exciting level of viewing choice for subscribers who have tablets to watch anywhere and at any time. Other channels offering exclusive coverage of the Olympics include BBC Worldwide with their Olympic App, ESPN's series Aussie's Abroad will feature two women from the Australian women's basketball team (18 & 19 July), and Foxtel's live preview show on 27 July: London 2012 Ready Set Gold.
When announcing my decision to step down as CEO of ASTRA at the end of March 2013 I spoke about the enormous change and growth that the subscription TV (STV) sector had experienced during my time in the role. I believe this will continue and is evidenced by the advancement and development reflected through ongoing investment in new content, services and products that are regularly released to the Australian marketplace and position STV as offering a better entertainment experience to subscribers.