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Oz’s Foxtel unveils VOD service

Launch date not yet finalized

SYDNEY — Paybox Foxtel announced on Wednesday that it will begin a video-on-demand service through its Foxtel IQ set-top box this year. A launch date for the service has not been finalized.

It also plans a remote recording service allowing consumers to program their digital video recorders via cell phone.

Speaking at the Australian Broadcasting Summit in Sydney, Patrick Delany, Foxtel’s head of content, development and delivery, said interactivity is at the heart of Foxtel’s success. With 80% of its subscribers converting to digital, the feevee operator is able to innovate.

“We are closely looking at delivery of a Foxtel service via 3G phones, and we are determined to launch a broadband download-to-PC service in the next 12 months,” Delany said. “On this front, we have already started to acquire appropriate rights to enable this.”

Foxtel said on Monday that it has extended output deals with Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal for its Showtime movie channel to include broadband downloads.

Paybox also fired off a warning to free-to-air webs that its dealmaking would be more proactive. “Our recently penned Showtime extension guarantees a healthy level of firstrun series and movie tentpole acquisition and production,” Delany said.

“Now that we are profitable, you will see us more and more in the bidding for firstrun mainstream Hollywood series.”

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