Profitable at last: 2006-07

After a decade of investment, by 2006 the industry was at last profitable.  Years of huge investment and risk-taking had begun to pay off, and the industry finally began achieving scale as more than a million Australian homes subscribed to the newly digitized service.

Despite the launch of new services like SelectTV, after ten years the industry was clearly consolidating with deals including the acquisition of Neighbourhood Cable by Transact to serve customers in the ACT and surrounds.

But it was Foxtel that, by 2006, had established itself as the largest and most popular provider in the country.  Needing more space, the company shifted premises from the iconic Pyrmont wharf to a new North Ryde campus opened by then Prime Minister John Howard.  The platform also won a slew of sports broadcasting rights including the 2010 winter and 2012 summer Olympics, and four AFL matches per round which were combined with new magazine-style shows to cater for football fans.

The first service offering subscription television on mobile phone was offered by Telstra, though it would be years before the product was widely adopted thanks to fast broadband networks, capped data plans and the widespread take-up of smart phones.

In Canberra, Communications Minister Helen Coonan announced a series of media reforms including some deregulation of free-to-air multi-channelling, relaxation of some media ownership restrictions, and the ‘use it or lose it’ rule which clamped down on abuse of the anti-siphoning scheme by free broadcasters.

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