Subscription television in Australia

Subscription television in Australia consists of a dominant cable and satellite television provider Foxtel, with several smaller cable and satellite service providers operating in limited geographic areas. Other providers of Internet television in Australia offer free content or pay-per-view, but do not offer a subscription service.

In 2012, only about 28% of Australian homes had a pay TV subscription, which is one of the lowest subscriber rates in the developed world.[1] However, this rate is expected to rise from new delivery methods IPTV and streaming television services, including Apple TV, Netflix, Presto, Stan and Quickflix.[2]


Galaxy was the first provider of subscription television in Australia, launching a MMDS service on 26 January 1995.[3] Originally Premier Sports Network was the only local channel to be fully operational, with Showtime and Encore launching in March.[4] They were later joined in April by TV1, Arena, Max, Red and Quest.[5][6] A satellite service was launched later in the year.

Optus Vision and Austar launched their cable services on 19 September followed by Foxtel on 22 October.[7][8]

Northgate Communications launched their service on 13 March 1997.[9] It was later acquired by Neighbourhood Cable.[10]

Galaxy was closed on 20 May 1998.[11] Two weeks later Foxtel significantly boosted 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.[12] In February 1999 Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.[13]

Following the collapse, ECTV quickly signed a deal with Optus Vision.[14] Less than two months later, it was acquired by Austar, along with its stake in XYZ.[15] Austar replaced the ECTV packages with their own in September.[16]

TransTV launched in 2001, beginning with VoD followed later by linear channels.[17][18]

UBI World TV launched in 2004. Also in 2004, TV PLUS launched its Ethnic platforms catering for Balkans, Russians and other Eastern European communities. Foxtel and Austar both launched their digital offerings in 2004, with a total of 130 channels. The following year, Foxtel introduces their Foxtel iQ personal video recorder.[19]

SelecTV launched on 12 April 2006.[20] It ceased its English programming in late 2010.[21]

Neighbourhood Cable with its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable networks in three Victorian regional cities of Mildura, Ballarat and Geelong was acquired by TransACT at the end of 2007.[22] In November 2011, TransACT was acquired by iiNet Limited, which in 2015 itself became a subsidiary of TPG.[23]

Foxtel commenced their HD service in February 2009.

Fetch TV entered the market in 2010 with a subscription service over a few ADSL2+ networks.

Channels available

Almost all channels which currently or previously operated in Australia were available through Foxtel and Austar, being the dominant player in the market. However, some smaller competitors offer a subset of channels which are exclusive or unavailable on Foxtel services.

The majority of channels not available through Foxtel are non-English language channels. UBI World TV offers a number of ethnic satellite TV and radio channels nationwide, and other companies offer some channels via satellite, and some channels are available over the internet.



HFC Cable

IPTV / Internet Television

Defunct Services

  • Austar previously delivered an analogue MMDS service into selected regional areas, however the system was dumped in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Austar also briefly tested a digital MMDS service on the Gold Coast.
  • TARBS leased some of Austar's metropolitan licenses for their service.
  • ECTV and Galaxy also used MMDS.
  • SelecTV used Intelsat 8 until administrators shut the service down in January 2011.[27]
  • UBI World TV used Optus D2 and Intelsat 8 until United Broadcasting International Pty Ltd ceased to trade on 8 June 2012.

See also


  1. ^ "We don't love pay-TV like the rest. So what's Foxtel really worth?". Crikey. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ "THE NETFLIX CHALLENGE: The Two Major Hurdles In The Australian Market For The Service Transforming The TV Industry". Business Insider. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  3. ^ Bertolus, Phil (2 February 1995). "AT HOME WITH PAY TV". The Age Green Guide. p. 1. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  4. ^ Oliver, Robin (6 March 1997). "Galaxy of stars but light on hard info". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 8. Retrieved 27 December 2009. In addition to its sports network, already operating, Galaxy trebled the choice on Friday when Showtime, a premium movie channel, and Encore, a movie favourites channel, got under way.
  5. ^ Wilmoth, Peter (15 April 1997). "Do we really need pay-TV". The Sunday Age. p. 5. Retrieved 27 December 2009. TV1 channel, the service's fourth channel of the eight planned, which was launched on 2 April
  6. ^ Browne, Rachel (22 April 1995). "Galaxy takes knife to fees". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. p. 23. Retrieved 21 December 2009. XYZ Entertainment is launching the other four Galaxy channels today. They are a documentary channel Quest, children's and cult TV channel Max, general entertainment channel Arena and music channel Red.
  7. ^ Potter, Ben (19 September 1995). "Handful of households switch on to cable". The Age. p. 6. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. ^ Potter, Ben (23 October 1995). "No fanfare as Foxtel hits the airwaves". The Age. p. 6. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  9. ^ Walker, David (14 March 1997). "Ballarat backs new cable roll-out". The Age. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Pay TV operator offers free phone in bush". The Australian. 14 December 1999. p. 32.
  11. ^ Simpson, Kirsty (21 May 1998). "Business: Lights out for Galaxy". The Age. p. 1. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  12. ^ Anne, By (3 June 1998). "Business: Foxtel pulls off coup in battle for pay TV". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 31. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  13. ^ Daniel, By (28 February 1999). "Pay TV audience doubles". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. p. 33. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  14. ^ Joyce, James (29 May 1998). "Friday Guide: ECT's New Pay-TV Vision". Newcastle Herald. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  15. ^ Mathieson, Clive (10 July 1998). "Austar expands pay TV interests". The Australian. p. 23.
  16. ^ Allen, Jodi (28 August 1998). "PayTV Hope Looms on Region's Horizon". Illawarra Mercury. p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  17. ^ Manktelow, Nicole (13 March 2001). "Information Technology: ACT Debuts Video On Demand". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 8. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  18. ^ Manktelow, Nicole (7 August 2001). "Information Technology: Mix Of TV Gets Canberra On Cable". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Bolt, Cathy (12 April 2006). "$20m float for pay-TV player". The West Australian. Perth, Australia: West Australian Newspapers Limited. p. 58.
  21. ^ Chessell, James (20 August 2010). "City Beat: Bruce Gordon's SelecTV to make changes". The Australian. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  22. ^ Downie, Graham (19 December 2007). "TransACT in Vic move". Canberra Times. p. 6.
  23. ^ Hopewell, Luke (August 2015). "ACCC Gives TPG The A-OK To Buy iiNet". Gizmodo. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  24. ^ "iiNet to deliver TV over internet". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  25. ^ Sinclair, Lara (24 November 2009). "Finance: Fetch locks in TV partners". The Australian. p. 21. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  26. ^ Foxtel on Xbox 360 Pricing Announced
  27. ^ "Time called on WIN's pay TV company". The Spy Report (Media Spy). Retrieved 2 March 2011.
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1233 ABC Newcastle (call sign: 2NC) is an Australian radio station. It is the Newcastle station of the ABC local radio network, and is licensed to, and serving Newcastle and surrounding areas. It operates on the AM band at 1233 kilohertz. Formerly known by its callsign 2NC, the NC in the callsign is short for Newcastle, while the 2 represents the state of New South Wales. The station was established in 1930.

ABC (TV station)

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ABC Classics

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ABC Innovation

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ABC International

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The division also includes ABC International Development, which works with media organisations in Asia and the Pacific to offer training, assistance, and specialist advice. These projects are usually supported by agencies such as AusAID, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, and UNESCO, amongst others.An international relations department works with other public broadcasters to raise the profile of public broadcasting, and support others in the region.

ABC News and Current Affairs

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However, the other divisions of the ABC also produce a range of programming within these genres. All such content is covered here.

ABC Online

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ABC Online is one of Australia's largest and most-visited web sites, according to Alexa the eleventh-most popular in the country. It currently contains over 5 million pages.

ABC Rural

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ABC Sport

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Australian Broadcasting Company

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Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association

The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) is the peak industry body representing the subscription media industry in Australia.

ASTRA’s main activities are to represent the industry with government, regulators and the media, advocate policy reforms that promote industry growth, highlight and reward industry achievement, report television ratings and assist the industry to develop. ASTRA was formed in September 1997.


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ITV Studios Australia

ITV Studios Australia is an Australian television production company and the Australian arm of UK company ITV Studios. It was formed as Artist Services in 1989, later becoming Granada Media Australia before being rebranded to its current name in 2013.

The company produces or co-produces numerous Australian television programs across commercial television, public broadcasters and subscription television in Australia. ITV Studios Australia is based at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney.

Jabba (presenter)

Jason Davis, known professionally as Jabba, is an Australian actor, media personality, video jockey, television and radio host, who first made a name for himself as part of the launch of subscription television in Australia in 1995. He was a host for music television station "Red" on the now-defunct Galaxy subscription television network, before the channel changed its name to Channel [V].

Neighbourhood Cable

Neighbourhood Cable was a telecommunications provider based in regional Victoria, Australia. The company owned and operated hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable networks in three Victorian regional cities of Mildura, Ballarat and Geelong before being acquired by TransACT in 2007 and the brand ceased to be used in 2011.

The company delivered cable television, broadband internet and telephony services via these cable networks. It also offered internet services via Telstra's copper network and wireless equipment. It was one of the few companies in Australia selling non-Telstra local-loop services, and also one of only very few with active HFC networks.


OzTAM is an Australian audience measurement research firm that collects and markets television ratings data. It is jointly owned by the Seven Network, the Nine Network and Network Ten, and is the official source of television ratings data for all metropolitan television in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as well as subscription services (such as Foxtel) on a national basis.

OzTAM was created in 1999 after the Seven and Ten Networks led a call for a re-tendering of the contract to provide audience ratings. Executives from both networks were concerned that the previous ratings service did not accurately reflect viewing levels for their channels.Prior to OzTAM, the dominant metropolitan ratings company was Nielsen Media Research. The two companies competed for a short time, before Nielsen pulled out. Nielsen continues to be active in some regional areas.There are ten official survey periods, of four weeks each, covering 40 weeks of the year, excluding 2 weeks over Easter and 10 weeks over summer.

In total, OzTAM measures ratings from 3,500 homes, with 950 homes in Sydney, 900 in Melbourne, 650 in Brisbane and 500 each in Adelaide and Perth, with these ratings commonly referred to as 'five city metro ratings'. A further 2,000 homes outside these five cities are measured by Regional TAM, and an additional 1,200 homes monitor viewing of subscription television in Australia. Nielsen are contracted to provide the audience measurement services to both OzTAM and Regional TAM having previously operated their own measurement service.The Nine Network, traditionally the ratings leader in Australia for many years, carried over its dominance into the OzTam era, winning six consecutive ratings seasons between 2001 and 2006 inclusive. However, in recent years, it has languished in second position behind the Seven Network, which as of 2018 has won the last twelve ratings seasons consecutively.In 2017, the metropolitan homes measured will increase to 5,250, Regional TAM homes will increase to over 3,000 and subscription viewing homes to 2,120. Additionally, OzTAM's renewed its contract with Nielsen as a sub-contractor through until 2020.

SelecTV (Australian television)

SelecTV was an Australian satellite based subscription television broadcasting service. As of January 2011, the service is no longer available. Services were carried on the Intelsat 8 satellite.

Telstra Media

Telstra Media (formerly known as BigPond) is an Australian Internet service provider and a product of Telstra. It is Australia's largest ISP and is based in Melbourne. The BigPond brand has been in the process of being phased out in favour of full Telstra branding since 2013. As of May 2016, BigPond Movies is the only remaining service using BigPond branding.

The King (2007 film)

The King: The Story of Graham Kennedy is an Australian television film examining the life of Australian entertainer Graham Kennedy.

Produced in Australia by the Sydney based independent production company Crackerjack Productions for TV1 and the Nine Network, The King was first shown on 20 May 2007 on TV1 for Foxtel and Austar and became the highest rating drama ever screened on subscription television in Australia, drawing 511,000 viewers. It later aired on the Nine Network on 27 August 2007.

The film faced criticism from some of those close to Kennedy who felt it did not portray him accurately, feeling that he was portrayed too broadly in a dark manner in the film, as well as what one commentator noted was a "mad rush to out him, sexually".

Subscription television channels in Australia
Pay television providers in Africa, Asia and Oceania

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