FetchTV to become Australia's first pay IPTV

Backed by Malaysia's Astro All Asia Networks

SYDNEY – Australian IPTV service FetchTV is set to launch the country’s first pay TV service delivered over the Internet, next month. 

Fetch TV, unrelated to the U.K. service of the same name, but backed by Malaysia’s Astro All Asia Networks, will include all free-to-air digital channels, international pay TV channels, new-release pay-per-view movies in high definition, interactive and social networking applications, and an advanced personal video recorder. 

Fetch is wholesaling its service to local Internet service providers with the company confirming Tuesday that the third-ranked ISP in the country, iiNet, is the first to sign up to deliver the FetchTV service to its 520,000 broadband customers. iiNet will run a commercial trial of the service next month with a full launch to follow ‘shortly thereafter." 

The FetchTV set-top box will include a PVR, tuners that will give access to all the Freeview digital terrestrial channels, and channels and content from Discovery Networks, National Geographic, MTV Networks, Fox International Channels, E! Entertainment Television, BBC World News, CNBC, ABC, Roadshow Entertainment, Disney Media Distribution, MGM, and Lionsgate.

Programming will be available as traditional linear channels or via video-on-demand libraries arranged by genre and including kids, news, movies, science fiction, documentaries, biographies and general entertainment. Foreign language channel packages will also be available.

Additional content partnerships will be announced in coming weeks, the company said.

Fetch TV CEO Scott Lorson described the service as “an entirely new breed of entertainment proposition, designed to meet the needs of the 70% of Australian households who have elected not to take up existing subscription TV services.”

Michael Malone, CEO, iiNet added: “The solution we’ve developed with FetchTV will change the subscription-TV market in Australia for the better, as well as allowing customers to move painlessly to digital free to air TV.

Fetch provides the first and most comprehensive competitor to incumbents, Foxtel and Austar, which combined have a penetration of over 30% of Australian TV households. Foxtel is preparing to launch a broadband TV service through its set top boxes later this year.

Details of the Fetch service come as TV manufacturers tie up with content providers as they launch new broadband–enabled TVs here in the coming months.

LG announced last week that Telstra’s Bigpond Internet service, the country’s largest, will have a video-on-demand service embedded in LG TV’s while Sony has struck a deal with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. to have the ABC’s catch up TV service, iView, as part of the Bravia Internet TV range.
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