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Cricket to lead Foxtel 4K channel launch in October

Foxtel is to launch a 4K channel featuring live sport, films and documentaries with cricket to be the first focus of the new service at its October launch

New Foxtel boss Patrick Delany described the move as a “new chapter in Australian television”, adding it was not only about building out its subscriber base, but recognising the subscription TV’s existing 2.8m customers.

Delany said it marked a “new chapter in Australian television”

“Get ready to see content like never before. From October, Foxtel will launch Australia’s first ever 4K channel,” Delany told journalists at a press briefing announcing the new channel 444 that will be available to subscribers of Foxtel’s sports and HD packages.

“It’s delivered in 4K guaranteed over a big fat  satellite signal. That means we can guarantee it nationwide, doesn’t matter where you live, doesn’t matter what town, you’ll be able to get it.”

Foxtel claims it is the first channel in Australia to deliver sport in 4K

Delany said the first focus of the new channel would be the cricket, which Foxtel obtained the rights to earlier this year.

Foxtel will show all men’s domestic tests and one day internationals along with some Big Bash League games on the new channel.

Under the rights deal, all domestic test matches and Big Bash Leagues games will be simulcast on Seven and a dedicated Fox cricket channel along with 23 Women’s Big Bash League games and all women’s international fixtures.

Foxtel will have exclusive rights to the One Day Internationals and digital rights will be held by Foxtel and will form the basis of a partnership with CA’s digital arm, the Cricket Network.

While the channel will showcase a range of documentaries, concerts music and selected films, Delany said the first thing to “power” the channel would be cricket, which kicks off on November 4 with the live match between Australia and South Africa.

“This will be Australia’s first live 4K sports broadcast and it will be cricket like never before – 20 times the definition of standard definition and four times the definition of HD. Every ball of every over of every day of Australian prime cricket will be in one place on Australian Fox cricket. It will never be interrupted in live by ad breaks and now presented in 4K,” he said.

When asked whether the channel would be ad-free, Delany admitted he “hadn’t thought about it”.

“The sport – we would never break a live game and we would never break a movie,” he said.

Delany wouldn’t specify the exact cost of the investment, describing it as “sizeable”. He also wouldn’t put a number on the subscribers needed to make the investment worthwhile.

“Foxtel is a big and profitable business already so maintaining that is a major goal, adding value to customers is a very worthwhile investment,” he said.

But he added: “Today marks a new chapter in Australian TV and at Foxtel we are only just getting started. You should be prepared for a whole range of announcements of new products and services.”

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