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February 11, 2010

FoxTel sees earnings rise

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by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel saw earnings rise 21% in the second half of 2009, buoyed by strong uptake of the Foxtel iQ PVR unit, high definition packages and multi-room services.

EBITDA was A$238 million, a good result on total revenues of A$989 million, itself 9% up on the previous corresponding period. Subscription revenues rose 10% to A$762 million.

Foxtel said in a statement the strong earnings were achieved “notwithstanding the additional costs associated with the successful launch of the Foxtel Next Generation services and the accelerated rollout of iQ.” An iQ set-top box is now installed “free” to those taking certain high-value packages. Foxtel Next Generation introduced 12 new standard-def channels, 15 HDTV channels, a new 16-channel movie offering, new search functionality and improved interactive news and weather.

At end-2009, nearly 55% of Foxtel’s 1.516 million direct subscribers (a figure which itself was 5% up on the prior corresponding period) took Foxtel iQ. At the same time last year, only around one-third of the subscriber base took iQ.

And 31% of all subscribers now take a multi-room service, with over 13% paying extra for a high definition package, double the uptake from a year prior.

Total subscribers (including wholesale subscribers, which continue to fall), reached 1.622 million.

On October 1, Foxtel also launched catch-up TV service Foxtel Download with programming and movies available for download to PCs. At end-2009, 80,000 subscribers had registered.

Foxtel CEO Kim Williams promised “a dynamic new broadband service with delivery of an extensive range of the best entertainment” for the second half of 2010.

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