Aussie pay-TV operator Foxtel moving to à la carte, smart content delivery with IPTV

Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel, which operates cable, direct broadcast satellite television and IPTV services, has seen the light, announcing that it plans to move away from traditional delivery models to digital delivery of individual content, as it seeks to provide "the flexible platform which meets consumer expectations as we mutually ride the digital wave."

Foxtel CEO Kim Williams, speaking at ASTRA, an annual pay-TV conference in Australia, said consumers are looking for change in how, and when, their content is delivered.

"Consumers want to find things as easily as possible and then to either watch a superbly programmed service or pull single pieces of content down simply," he said. "And they want to be enabled to watch what they selected on a smart device of their own choice."

Williams said Foxtel is planning, within the next two years, to ofer a next-generation iQHD hybrid broadband/broadcast set top unit.

"This set top unit will reflect a connected contemporary personality in its design, configuration and flexibility," he said. "It will be brought to market in the 2012/2013 fiscal year and after the last 18 months of rigorous scientific and market investigation I know it will provide a terrific consumer experience."

Williams said current STUs are broadcast centric with strong IP functionality.

"Tomorrow's will be IP-centric with strong broadcast functionality," he said. "The new HD hybrid broadband/broadcast STU will offer all the smarts of our current broadcast STUs but will also offer even more IP centric intelligence than today's generation of STUs. It will offer even greater personalisation, engagement and control over television viewing to our fellow Australians. FOXTEL's next generation HD Broadband /Broadcast Set Top Unit will offer web-based interfaces, fully integrated contemporary search and recommendation functions, better storage capacity and content management. It will be hotwired to the Internet provisioning access to a magnificent ‘Cloud' of tools and content goodies."

Foxtel was formed in 1995 through a joint venture established between Telstra and News Corporation.

Williams said that broadcasting will remain an important component of the company's strategy, as it remains an efficient delivery platforms.

"But, The Cloud, and the application of the ‘wisdom of crowds', will continue to grow in importance," he said. "What we know - from listening to customers and from modest but unusually clear crystal ball gazing - is that consumers will want to be able to seamlessly enjoy watching their favorite shows across the three screens of video and entertainment experience. These include wonderful HD television, personal computers, pads and tablet devices of rich assortment and, of course, ever better and more centrally important, smart phones."

For more:
- see this article from Mumbrella
- and this report from Content + Technology

Related articles:
Canadian MSO offering à la carte services 
HBO weighs going à la carte for first time since inception
À la carte cable: An opportunity for IPTV providers?

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