With One on Foxtel, what’s the point of Freeview?

So does anyone want to buy a second hand Freeview box?  

I’ve only used it twice, and I’m not going to need it after July 1.

It appears that Ten has done a deal with Foxtel to put its sport channel One onto the platform. That means the only channel unique to Freeview will no longer be unique to Freeview.

Which makes my investment in a Freeview box purely to watch Formula One worth $75 per grand prix. For that I expect Mark Weber to make me a toasted sandwich and Lewis Hamilton to do the commentary from the sofa.

I must admit, I’ve been predicting a digital TV and radio disaster for months. Why on earth will Aussies shell out $150 to watch exactly what they can already get for free? When I had that conversation previously, it was with the admission that despite thinking people weren’t going to buy a box, I had already. Fortunately, it looks like that caveat will no longer be necessary.

This is the second market to use the freeview name, but the Freeview package in the UK was very different – dozens of extra channels, available for nothing. That won’t happen here because the powerful free networks will fight to make sure that satellite channels get nowhere near Freeview, even if other channels would make the package more attractive to consumers.

For a while, it looked like the proposition here was going to be some unique content unavailable on Foxtel. but from today’s announcement, it looks like that’s not the case.

Which brings us back to asking what the point of Freeview is. To the networks it’s a necessary evil, a price to buy in order to keep the government off their backs about allowing a fourth network. But for the government, it’s a timebomb. There’s no way they’d commit electoral suicide and switch the signal off while thousands of Australians haven’t converted. But right now, there is no reason for them to do so.


Tim Burrowes


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