Foxtel’s Kim Williams hits out at ‘bone-headed protectionists’

Foxtel boss Kim Williams has renewed his attack on the government’s special treatment of the free-to-air television industry.  

Taking questions after speaking at a business event is Sydney, he railed against “bone-headed protectionists”.

He added: “I live in confident optimism that these bastions of dumb thinking will be brought down.”

In February, communications minister Stephen Conroy announced plans to provide FTA networks with a licence fee rebate that would save them an estimated $240m.

In the speech, Williams said:

“I’ve had a bit to say lately about the predatory behaviour of Australia’s commercial and national networks, and the leg up that they get from the Government through favourable regulations and subsidies. It is important to get our regulatory settings right – so that they are pro-consumer, pro-competition and pro-investment.

“But ultimately what happens in media will be driven by what digital consumers want and how effectively media companies meet their needs. We have a number of new competitors in our space as well as existing competitors offering new channels.

“That’s good. I like that great American and Australian virtue of being competitive.

“Competition is making us sharper and stronger. And unlike many of our competitors, because we’re a subscription service, responding to customer need is hard wired into our soul in the way that it is not for the publicly protected networks.”

His speech came hours after Foxtel announced a streaming deal to make its channels available on Microsoft XBox 360 consoles.


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