Oz’s Foxtel ups sub fee

SYDNEY — While Oz’s main pay TV carriers are in the throes of merger arrangements, Rupert Murdoch’s Foxtel cabler has announced its first rate increase in its two years on air, with basic subscriptions rising A$3 ($2.22) to $31.78 per month beginning Sept. 1.

On that date, two new channels will bow, bringing Foxtel’s basic package to 28 channels. The first is the Life Style channel from XYZ Entertainment, producers of the upmarket but offbeat Arena entertainment service, which has proved one of Foxtel’s most popular channels.

The other newcomer, the National Geographic Channel, will help Foxtel maintain the leading edge it has built in docu programming with the popular Discovery service. The announcement comes just two weeks after rival cabler Optus Vision launched its Odyssey docu service, with programming from U.S. cablers Home and Garden TV and Bravo.

Foxtel also is making soft porn channel Nightmoves, presently seen only on satcaster Galaxy, available to its subscribers for an additional fee.

1st local program

Meantime, Columbia TriStar-Paramount-Universal movie library channel TV1 has commissioned Sydney production Screentime to produce its first local program, a quiz show about retro TV programs, while Denver-based United Intl. Holdings’ Oz rural paybox Austar announced it will carry TNT and the Cartoon Network, from Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting. TNT/Cartoon already airs on Foxtel and Optus.

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