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Fetch TV adds free-to-air feature for the ‘large and growing segment’ of Australians with poor reception

According to Free TV, who represents Nine, Seven, and Ten, just 61% of Australians access free-to-air television through their aerial – “a proportion that is declining”.

To ensure that Australians can easily access these stations, Fetch TV will be making all free-to-air channels available as IP feeds via its electronic program guide from next month, giving customers single click access from the main menu.

Previously, viewers were required to go into each individual channel’s app in order to watch free-to-air feeds – a real handbrake on the channel surfing experience. As Scott Lorson, CEO of Fetch TV explains, the in-built TV guide “remains at the centre of content discovery and channel navigation.”

Access to free-to-air TV is also seen by most Australians as a utility. This is despite the fact that, as Lorson explains, “households with no or poor free-to-air reception represent a large and growing segment, and include homes in digital terrestrial black spots, multi-dwelling units with no FTA access, new estates where antennas are not permitted, homes with no or broken aerials, and even rooms where no aerial socket is present.

“Australian families without FTA reception are looking for solutions.”

As Network 10 president Beverley McGarvey, said, “When Australians go to free-to-air TV, they increasingly don’t even think of an aerial as the gateway.”

This is the crux of the advertising campaign launched by Free TV this week, urging the Federal Government to amend its proposed changes to the Anti-siphoning Bill, to extend the anti-siphoning law to include free streaming for sporting events deemed to be of national interest.

As it stands, the free-to-air IP feeds are subject to certain sporting and programming black outs – as well as other differences in regional and metro programming.

“We continue to advocate for the anti-siphoning legislation to include the FTA IP feeds or ‘digital twin’, given the critical role that FTA IP feeds will play in preserving access to FTA channels and sport into the future,” Lorson said.

“We also welcome efforts to extend access to regional news, and preserve logical channel numbering (1-99) for the FTA channels.”

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