Foxtel upfront focuses on delivering content on any platform

Foxtel’s unveiling of its plans for 2014 have offered a focus on both new technology to provide viewers with viewing on any platform they like and new content.

The upfronts presentation held in conjunction with its  subscription TV sales house Multi-Channel Networkin Sydney last night included the launch of an enhanced electronic program guide that will give viewers access to programs broadcast up to 26 hours earlier via streaming.

The capability made available from today through Foxtel’s internet-connected set top boxes iQ will be rolled out across the country over the next few weeks.

Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein said the ability for viewers to view what they want will further improve with the launch of the new iQ3 set top box next year.

“The revolutionary iQ3 will be a quantum leap forward from our previous set top boxes,” he said. “Using wi-fi technology it will offer significantly more opportunities for internet delivery and a vastly improved TV guide that has been streamlined to help customers discover the best programming for them.”

New channels Syfy and TV Hits were also unveiled; TV Hits, replacing TV1, being the new general entertainment channel for popular long-running television series’ such as Friends and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, while Syfy, a global brand for NBC Universal, will feature science fiction and fantasy programs.

And the Universal Channel has been rebranded with a new look logo and the tagline “100% characters” with US programs including The Michael J.Fox Show and the American version of original Australian drama Rake with Greg Kinnear.

Foxtel executive director of television Brian Walsh revealed new details on The Real Housewives of Melbourne, who attended the event, and confirmed the return of Australia’s Next Top Model and a two year deal signed with host and model Jennifer Hawkins.

More new Australian programming includes “The Face” hosted by British supermodel Naomi Campbell, nature documentary series Coast Australia, Outback Coroner and murder mystery crime series Behind Mansion Walls hosted by Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Aussie female prison drama Wentworth will launch its second series on SoHo next year, and new series The Devils’ Playground – about a child sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church – will premiere on showcase next year featuring a strong Australian cast including Toni Collette.

HBO series Game of Thrones and The Newsroom will also return to subscription television next year, along with new US series set in an ad agency including The Crazy Ones with Robbie Williams.

Walsh said: “Scripted drama is one of the biggest TV genres and is very popular with Foxtel subscribers. Over the pst few years we have seen the rise of the event series or ‘super series’ taking the once exclusive high-end production experience of the cinema and creating plotlines that are far deeper than any movie can produce, over eight to 12 episode series. From Game of Thrones to Wentworth, Foxtel is the home of drama that’s different.”


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