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    With the number of brokerage comments out on FoxTel (sideline comments via PBL, TLS, etc), ACCC is getting very close to finalising approval of the FoxTel /Optus programming tie-up. As a result of this, cross marketicng of channels should still be up and running by the originally scheduled 1st October start-up date.

    Whilst a long time in coming, the rationalisation of competing programming arrangements has so far only served the interests of the Hollywood movie cartel.

    Going forward, ACCC's approval of the working arrangements should result in:
    increased take-up of PayTV services by subscribers to all 3 main networks (FoxTel, Optus, and AUN);
    re-directed marketing of the FoxTel service via satellite (in respect of which AUN has a near 50% transponder interest);
    improved pricing of foreign content (ie: movie programming, etc), resulting in a lower COS to FoxTel, Optus, and AUN;
    increased delivery competition whereby the other competing broadband services (including Neighbourhood Cable, TransAct, etc) should all be able to secure enhanced terms of access of programming content);
    likely new participatory interest in the satellite delivery of PayTV services (again via the satellites in which AUN has an interest); and
    improved revenue streams for XYZ programming, in which AUN has a JV interest with TLS.

    With the satellite signals carried via satellite already being digitised, FoxTel's digitisation programme going forward will also receive a boost through:
    the progressive digitisation of cabelled services;
    the near immediate digisation of satellite services; and
    the offering of new programming content on a digital platform (both domestic and international).

    As for when all this will occur, 1st October is seen as a critical start-up date for FoxTel. If this date is to be held to, then one should expect ACCC to start making its announcements on the future of PayTV services in Australia in the next 7 -10 days.

    Approval of the proposed FoxTel arrangements will initially be good for TLS, PBL, AUN and SGT.

    In due course, these same arrangements will be good for Neighbourhood Cable (etc), and new content providers (ie: FXJ, NCP, and SEV).

    From a new media management perspective, both RUP and WAN could also benefit through developing new delivery outlets for their media /information content.

    For Pay TV, September is lining up to be particularly interesting.
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