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News Corp Backed Foxtel On A Roll, As Stan Faces Losing Disney

Foxtel has a bright future and the full backing of News Corporation despite what archrival Nine Entertainment the owners of Stan has been spruiking across their media outlets in current weeks.

According News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller the Company is set to invest further in Foxtel in an effort to drive uptake of its iQ4 box, Kayo Sports and acquire new programming.

Mr Miller said attacks on Foxtel’s viability were driven by fears among rivals of their own sustainability when deals between major production houses and subscription streaming services expired.

Streaming service Stan, owned by Nine, is reportedly pushing to renew its deal for Disney content by the end of this year, but risks losing out if the ­global giant ­decides to keep the content for its own Disney+ streaming service he claims.

“We have some competitors in the market that have some big renewals coming up, and they have definitely made it known that they want to retain those and go after some other content.”

Mr Miller said a spin-off of Foxtel, long rumoured in the market, was “not being considered in the moment”.

According to French sources at last week’s Computex show in Taiwan Foxtel is also working on new high-performance streaming technology and new hardware which we understand will be introduced in 2020 in Australia.

Is this the new look for Foxtel, double tier boxes and expanded sound?

The Hardware has been developed in Europe.

Miller said that despite write-downs in the Foxtel business last year when the company’s ownership structure changed to incorporate Fox Sports and to dilute the interest of Telstra, Mr Miller said that News was committed to further investment in Foxtel and pointed to the success of sports streaming service Kayo.

“Definitely at News now we’re thinking of this as a business that we want to invest in,” he said. “And the ­investment in Kayo is a component of that.

“In terms of iQ4, you’re seeing a lot of retention in terms of crossing that churn, and for a business that has been constantly dis­rupted, (it) has seen a fairly solid base retained within the business.

“Kayo servicing that great sports content on a different brand on an (over the top) platform has done particularly well. And with the start of the cricket World Cup over the weekend, and with the (winter) sporting seasons, I think we’re offering now a 12-month ­offering with a new customer group that previously hasn’t ­enjoyed a full 12 months’ benefit of our great sports content.”

Mr Miller said the success of Game of Thrones pointed to the demand for quality content in the market, with Foxtel hoping to maintain its momentum with the screening of the second season of the hit Big Little Lies from Sunday.

“There’s no doubt the competition for content has never been fiercer,” he said.

“It’s still early days in terms of the new Foxtel. There’s a new executive team under Patrick ­Delaney that is doing a great job. And we’re very confident of the plans that are in place.

“Foxtel is making good money, unlike many other streamers in the market.”

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