Foxtel Management Pty Limited
Type Proprietary limited joint venture
Industry Satellite television
Founded 22 October 1995
Headquarters Macquarie Park, New South Wales & Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia
Key people Kim Williams, CEO
Bruce Akhurst, Chairman
Products Direct broadcast satellite, Pay television, Pay-per-view, IPTV
Revenue A$2 billion (2009-10)[1]
Profit A$206 million (2009-10)[1]
Employees 1,500[2]
Parent Telstra (50%)
News Corporation (25%)
Consolidated Media Holdings (25%)

Foxtel is an Australian pay television company, operating cable, direct broadcast satellite television and IPTV services. It was formed in 1995 through a joint venture established between Telstra and News Corporation.

In 1995 a venture between News Corporation (in particular 20th Century Fox Media) and Telstra took place whereby Telstra would transmit a TV signal through its coaxial network and News Corporation would be the basis for offering channel negotiations and connections. Foxtel was formed (Fox - being News Corporation Fox; and Tel - being Telstra).

In October 1995, Foxtel commenced a 20 channel service, delivered over the Telstra Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network.[5]

In May 1998, Australis Media, the owner of a satellite television service known as Galaxy, was declared insolvent. In June 1998 Foxtel was able to significantly boost its customer base by acquiring Galaxy subscribers from the liquidator of Australis Media and immediately commenced supplying programming to Galaxy's subscribers on an interim basis.[6] In February 1999 Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.[7]

Publishing and Broadcasting Limited bought half of News Corporations shares in October 1998, giving each quarter ownership.[8]

In 2002, a Content Sharing Agreement between Foxtel and Optus Television was approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).[9]

Foxtel's shareholders comprise Telstra (50%, through Telstra Media Pty Ltd) and joint venture company Sky Cable Pty Ltd that is owned by News Corporation (25%) and Consolidated Media Holdings (25%). It shares many features with the Sky Digital service in the United Kingdom, including iQ, the electronic program guide, a similar remote control, and Red Button Active.

Foxtel grew rapidly in 2007, with most of Foxtel's highest-ever rating events being broadcast that year, including the 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter final between Australia and Japan, which drew an average of 419,000 viewers,[10] an Australian pay television record at that time. This ratings record has since been eclipsed, most recently by the Rugby World Cup semi-final between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, which saw an average of 734,000 viewers watch the match on Fox Sports on 16 October 2011[11].



Foxtel transmits its cable service via Telstra hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable into the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth metropolitan areas, along with the Gold Coast. Foxtel also transmits its satellite service into these cities as well as the state of Western Australia and the cities of Newcastle, Geelong, Central Coast, and Canberra. However, satellite service is not supplied to user sites where Telstra HFC cable is available. Foxtel on Mobile launched on Telstra's Next G Network in late 2006 and is now available within Telstra Next G (HSDPA/850 MHz) coverage areas, which covers 99% of the population.[12]

Telstra's network and Foxtel were created to combat the threat posed to Telstra's local call business by the combination of Optus Vision (now known as Optus TV) content bundling with Optus' local telephony services; Foxtel was the content arm of Telstra's defence strategy, while Telstra's multimedia broadband network was originally the sole delivery system.

In 2002, Foxtel and Optus Television agreed to a content-sharing arrangement. Programming competition between the two companies has now dissipated. Austar, a regional pay television operator, also carries most Foxtel programming. Austar sells satellite-delivered services to regional Australian markets that are not serviced by Foxtel.

Foxtel subscriber growth from 1995 to 2007[13][14]

As of 2011, Foxtel is Australia's largest pay television operator, with programming available to over 70% of Australian homes, and delivered to over 1.65 million[15], either directly or by Foxtel's wholesale customers. In April 2008, Foxtel's penetration into Australian homes passed 30%.[16] This penetration rate is significantly lower compared with market penetration rates in the US (over 85%)[17] and in Western Europe (over 55%).[18] This is due to the fact that Australian pay-TV fees are significantly more expensive and pay-TV began delivering its service much later in Australia than in the US.

Foxtel announced its maiden annual profit in 2006, more than 10 years after it commenced services. The installation and maintenance of Foxtel services is Telstra's responsibility. In many markets Telstra has outsourced installation and maintenance to large communications contractors, including ABB Communications and Siemens-Thiess Communications Joint Venture.

In 2007, Network Ten formed an agreement with Foxtel to allow them to carry a digital version of Ten's programming. Included in the deal is electronic program guide data, which allows Foxtel iQ users to schedule recordings on Ten. Before the agreement, Ten was carried in an analogue format on cable only.

In 2008, Seven Network finally entered an agreement to allow Foxtel to carry its SD signal

In 2008 the first Pay TV package comparison site[19] was launched to allow Foxtel packages and pricing to be compared to SelecTV, however this service was ceased along with the ceasing of SelecTVs service in late 2010.

On 15 November 2009 Foxtel released an additional 25 channels to satellite and cable subscribers, consisting of high definition channels, movie and theme channels, and several new time-shifted channels. As part of the release, Seven began broadcasting to satellite subscribers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

On 24 November 2009 Foxtel added 7TWO to the East Coast (satellite) and 7TWO and GO! to cable subscribers. ABC3 was recently introduced on 4 December 2009 to all Foxtel and Austar subscribers.

On 20 May 2010, Foxtel and Microsoft announced a new partnership offering Australians a brand new way of receiving Foxtel – over the internet and direct to television sets through Xbox 360’s online service Xbox LIVE. The service launched November 2010 with 30+ linear TV channels and an additional 12 Video-on-demand channels. It also provided Foxtel's movie service, known as Foxtel onDemand, to non-subscribers for the first time on a pay-per-view basis. Further linear channels were added in April 2011 with the addition of 7 Telstra BigPond channels.

In June 2011, Foxtel launched an over-the-top service on Telstra's IPTV set top box called Foxtel on T-Box carrying the same services as the Foxtel on Xbox service. Also as of June 2011, Foxtel's subscribers numbered just over 1.65 million[20]

Channels on Foxtel


Although originally launching in 1995 with just a cable service, Foxtel has branched out into many new services since its inception.

Foxtel Digital

Foxtel Digital logo

Foxtel launched its digital service (Foxtel Digital) in March 2004. The service is loosely based on another of News Corporation's subscription providers, BSkyB. Features of the digital service include:

Like many other News Corporation-owned digital platforms, Foxtel uses NDS Group encryption system, electronic program guide and digital video recorder services, the OpenTV interactive platform, and primarily runs on Pace Micro Technology set-top boxes.

Foxtel's satellite service transmits exclusively from the Optus C1 satellite on a frequency of 12.438 GHz and adjacent frequencies, as well as the Optus D3 satellite (November 2009). The Telstra hybrid fibre-coaxial cable carries Foxtel at frequencies of approximately 560 MHz (downstream) and 2.4 MHz (upstream).

As of April 2007, all Foxtel subscribers are using the digital set-up, making Foxtel Digital synonymous with the standard Foxtel service.

Foxtel HD

Foxtel HD+ Logo

Foxtel announced their High Definition service originally called Foxtel HD+ on 30 January 2008, and became officially available on 19 May 2008. The service offers fifteen channels in High Definition, Fox Sports 1HD, Fox Sports 2HD, Fox Sports 3HD, ESPN HD, UKTV HD, FOX8 HD, W HD, Movie One HD, STARPICS 1 & 2 HD, showtime premiere HD, showtime action HD, showcase HD Discovery HD and National Geographic Channel HD, as well as Foxtel Box Office HD and a retransmission of the free-to-air networks' high definition channels (ABC News 24, SBS HD, 7mate, GEM and One) to cable customers.[21]

Foxtel HD (current name) is broadcast in H.264 and provides channels in both 720p and 1080i. As of 2011, almost a third of Foxtel's customers were receiving the HD service[22]

Foxtel Download

On 1 October 2009, Foxtel launched an online download service which allows all cable and satellite customers to access Foxtel content via their computer.[23] The service is free for customers, who can download programs from channels within their subscription package. There is currently one live streaming channel, ESPN3, while the remainder of the service provides episodes of programs from 38 channels. CEO Kim Williams[24] has highlighted that Foxtel plans to expand its live streaming channel range later in the year to coincide with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the launch of thirty new channels for Foxtel Digital and HD.[25] This service has been the source of great controversy as there was no support for Linux, Mac or any 64 bit Windows Operating Systems, leaving many users unable to install the client.

Foxtel On Demand

Foxtel On Demand is a service offered by Foxtel to iQ subscribers that allows people to watch selected shows and movies whenever they want. Foxtel On Demand was launched on 8 February 2007, with a variety of programmes and included the entire second season of Love My Way.

The service is available to all Foxtel customers with an iQ set top unit, however the programming able to be played is typically restricted to the channels that the customer is subscribed to. For example, customers not subscribed to the movie channels are not be able to view the stored movies.

Mobile Foxtel

Launched in late 2006 to coincide with Telstra's NextG 3G Mobile phone network, Mobile Foxtel (previously Foxtel By Mobile) offers 33 standard channels of programming for a small subscription fee, optimised for mobile devices. At present the channels available are:[26] SKY NEWS Headlines, Sky News Business Channel, CNN, FoxSportsNews, FOX8, The Comedy Channel, MTV, E! Entertainment, Fashion TV, Discovery Mobile, Disney Channel, EuroSport, Union Extreme Sports, Cartoon Network, TV1, National Geographic, ABC1, SBS One and Eurosportnews.

With the exception of CNN, Fashion TV, Eurosportsnews, Eurosport, FOX News, BBC World News and FoxSportsNews, which are direct simulcasts of the actual channel and Sky News channels which are taken from the Sky News Active service, all channels are pre-produced loops that do not directly correlate to the full scale satellite/cable channel. At present, a limit of 200 minutes per month, with 15 minutes per session, may apply to the service, although this has not been strictly enforced.[26]

On 5 December 2009, Foxtel launched a mobile TV guide for the Apple iPhone, dubbed "Foxtel Guide". Features include: remote record for iQ and iQ2, free to air listings, program descriptions and classifications. The application is free to download from the iPhone App Store and is available to non-subscribers. On 25 February 2011, Foxtel released a Google Android application which is available as a free app from the Android Market. Features include: remote record, recording to multiple iQs, reminder alerts, favourites and iSuggest. The app works on both Android smartphones and tablets.

Foxtel magazine

Foxtel's magazine offers daily listings for channels offered on the Foxtel platform. It is no longer the only medium that subscribers can find information and recommendations on programming for the entire month.

Foxtel subscribers can opt-in and subscribe to the Foxtel magazine for a monthly fee. Legacy Foxtel Platinum subscribers who opted in for the magazine prior to the Platinum magazine un-bundling period in mid 2010, currently still continue to get the magazine free of charge.

Foxtel's magazine is Australia's highest-circulating paid-for monthly magazine, reaching over 815,000 homes every month.[27] It is published for Foxtel by ACP Magazines, and distributed to Foxtel subscribers (who choose to pay for this service) by the postal service.

Foxtel magazine unbundling

Foxtel no longer offers the magazine free to new "Platinum" subscribers. The change to this policy was introduced by Foxtel management to reduce physical waste (paper and associated environmental impact) from printing the monthly magazine, and to reduce monthly costs associated with printing and posting overhead for the Foxtel magazine, to all legacy Platinum customers who decided not to opt-in during the opt-in period in early 2010.

Alternatives to the Foxtel magazine

Viewers have electronic options to view the TV schedule, including the Set Top Box itself, Mobile and iPad Apps, Online, daily newspapers and magazines, and via the Foxtel online portal too.

Foxtel on Xbox Live

Launched on 10 November 2010. Foxtel on Xbox Live is a streaming video service from Foxtel for the Xbox 360 games console which offers 36 TV channels, on demand movie streaming, and a catch up TV service. It requires both an Xbox Live gold subscription and a Foxtel on Xbox Live subscription.[28][29]


At the 2011 ASTRA Conference Foxtel CEO Kim Williams made some statements around the next generation of iQ set top units - the "iQ3" - saying "whereas today’s STUs are broadcast centric with strong IP functionality, tomorrow’s will be IP-centric with strong broadcast functionality" and indicating that this product would be brought to customers within two years[30]

Models available

Foxtel iQ (original model)

A satellite Foxtel iQ set top box

Foxtel has also launched Foxtel iQ in late 2005, a timeshifting personal digital recorder, in which subscribers are able to record programs onto a hard drive inside the set-top unit for later viewing. Foxtel iQ includes a feature called Series Link, which lets the viewer choose to record all future episodes in a given television series. However, not all programmes are available with the Series Link feature. Foxtel iQ also allows viewers to use the rewind or pause features during television programs. Two new services, On Demand and Remote Record, launched in 2007. Remote Record was launched on 1 January 2007 and allows users to log in to the interactive TV guide on the Foxtel website and then command their iQ at home to record shows, while On Demand was launched on 8 February 2007. This service is based on Sky+, which was launched on News Corporation's UK television platform Sky in 2001. There are currently two models of Foxtel iQ, with identical functionality to the user but different audio-visual output abilities. Both models have two tuners, allowing users to record two programs (or record one and watch one) simultaneously. The system has a 160GB HDD and is based on the Linux OS. Pace plc are the set top box provider for iQ, of which they claim that the cable version of iQ is the first DVB-based cable digital video recorder.[31]

Foxtel iQHD (current model) (High Definition)

The satellite Foxtel iQHD set top box

Foxtel's second generation Foxtel iQ, Foxtel iQHD launched alongside the Foxtel HD+ service in mid 2008. But the cable was formerly called "Foxtel iQ2". Equipped with a 320Gb Hard Drive, iQHD is capable of recording 30 hours of HD and 90 hours of SD content and offers HDMI connectivity [32]

The iQHD is equipped with four tuners, allowing users to record two programs at once while watching a third live. The fourth tuner is reserved for on demand content.

As at 2011, nearly 75% of Foxtel customers have one of the iQ series set top boxes allowing them to record live TV[33].

Foxtel iQ1

The updated version of the original iQ unit, it is physically smaller, however allows for better quality recordings and HDMI Up-scaling.

Foxtel Standard

There is a variety of Foxtel standard units. These lack the recording features of the iQ models, but can be connected to a VCR or DVR. Foxtel has stated that it will eventually phase out the standard boxes for all new installations, and the additional features of the iQ models can be deactivated if the customer does not wish pay for them, in effect making them operate as a standard model.

Legislation affecting Foxtel


When Foxtel was launched in 1995, advertising during programs was banned under Australian Government legislation for the first two years. Foxtel have since gradually increased advertising across its platform, although still today legislation prevents Foxtel and other pay TV businesses from earning more than 50% of their revenue from advertising, sometimes viewers are exposed to up to 5min worth of adverts for every 8 minutes of programming.[34] Certain programming on select channels are broadcast commercial-free such as movies on Showtime and selected games on Fox Sports.[citation needed]


The Australian anti-siphoning laws also prevent Foxtel and other pay TV suppliers from acquiring exclusive rights to specific sporting events such as cricket, golf, tennis and the football codes. Under the legislation pay TV licencees are prevented from bidding for major sporting events until a right is acquired by the ABC, SBS or a free-to-air commercial network.[35] In 2009 the Minister for Communications announced a review of the legislation.[36]. In an Olympics year, the Australian anti-siphoning list runs to over 1300 events and is one of the longest in the world<ref(</ref>.

Third party access

Foxtel prevents users from using their subscription card in a third-party decoder, and requires all users to watch the service on a supplied set-top box, included with the subscription, however some users have reported being able to watch certain channels on a computer with a DVB-C card and using sasc-ng to decrypt the video content using card readers to read the decoding keys stored on the card used in Foxtel's iQ.[37]

Foxtel-owned channels


  1. ^ a b Foxtel Half Year Revenue
  2. ^ Working at Foxtel
  3. ^ Foxtel
  4. ^ Foxtel
  5. ^ Potter, Ben (23 October 1995). "No fanfare as Foxtel hits the airwaves". The Age: p. 6. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Anne, By (3 June 1998). "Foxtel pulls off coup in battle for pay TV". Sydney Morning Herald: p. 31. Retrieved 26 Feb 2010. 
  7. ^ Daniel, By (28 February 1999). "Pay TV audience doubles". The Sun-Herald: p. 33. Retrieved 26 Feb 2010. 
  8. ^ Sexton, Elisabeth (30 October 1998). "Packer Makes A $150m Splash Into Pay Television". Sydney Morning Herald: p. 1. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  9. ^ ASTRA History of Subscription TV
  10. ^ "Japan Game a TV Record".,japan-game-a-tv-record.aspx. 
  11. ^ (
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Get the Picture - Pay TV - Subscriber numbers - By operator". Australian Film Commission. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  14. ^ "Foxtel delivers subscriber, profit and TV viewing share growth" (Press release). Foxtel. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  15. ^ (
  16. ^ Tabakoff, Nick (30 April 2008). "Foxtel closer to launching high-definition set-top box". The Australian: p. 35.,25197,23619723-7582,00.html. Retrieved 29 August 2010. ""The company has also revealed its national subscriber penetration has passed 30 per cent for the first time."" [dead link]
  17. ^ Hindman, DB; Wiegand, K (March 2008), "The big three's prime-time decline: A technological and social context", Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 52 (1): 119–135 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ (
  21. ^ Retransmission on Foxtel
  22. ^ (
  23. ^ Foxtel Download Launch
  24. ^
  25. ^ Foxtel Download
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ ACP Magazines - Foxtel
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ (
  31. ^ Pace to Launch World's First DVB Cable PDR for payTV
  32. ^ HD on Foxtel - Foxtel iQHD
  33. ^ (
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ About XYZnetworks

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