Foxtel boss Kim Williams: Our future will be IPTV first, broadcast second

Foxtel boss Kim Williams has signalled that he intends to move the pay TV provider from a mass broadcast model to digital delivery of individual content. And he has also revealed that a major rebrand of the company is underway.

Speaking at the annual conference of pay TV provider ASTRA, Williams announced plans for new set top units which will make it as convenient for consumers to watch internet-delivered content as broadcast material. He said:

“Whereas today’s STUs are broadcast centric with strong IP functionality, tomorrow’s will be IP-centric with strong broadcast functionality.”

He announced that the broadcaster aims to bring a new HD Foxtel IQ unit to the market in less than two years.  

He said: “Foxtel is currently refining the functional scope and delivery timeline to launch a next generation iQHD hybrid broadband/broadcast set top unit. 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.

“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.”

Foxtel currently offers some internet delivered material via its On Demand service.

Williams said: “The new STU is all about providing the flexible platform which meets consumer expectations as we mutually ride the digital wave.  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.”

In  nod towards the coming conflict between the old broadcasting model and individual content creators, he said: “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. And they want to be enabled to watch what they selected on a smart device of their own choice.”

Williams also revealed that Foxtel is to undergo a “major” rebrand. Earlier this year Foxtel switched its advertising busienss from Three Drunk Monkeys to Clemenger BBDO.

Williams said: “We are currently working on a major internal branding project to ensure that every customer touch point is refreshed over the next six to twelve months to reflect the confidence and enthusiasm we all have for our product and service. From that work the brand itself will enjoy a renewed sense of energy and purpose which will eventually be reflected in an even better public marketing and communication projection of Foxtel.”


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