Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Australia’s Foxtel is poised to tighten its control of the nation’s pay-TV industry after the takeover of the other significant provider Austar, which may result in a restructuring of movie deals with Hollywood studios. The $A1.9 billion deal creates a national subscription TV service reaching 2.2 million households. That’sabout 34% of TV homes, but CCZ Statton Equities analyst Roger Colman forecasts likely penetration of 70%-80% by 2017, driven by broadband rollout and growth of Internet TV services. Colman notes Foxtel (co-owned by News Corp., telco Telstra and James Packer’s Consolidated Media) faces miniscule competition from Fetch TV and Quickflix, although Google has acquired Australian pay-per-view rights to movies from Disney, Sony, Columbia, Icon, Lionsgate and Village Roadshow. The Movie Network (co-owned by Warner Bros, Disney and Village Roadshow) pact with Foxtel expires December 31, and the Premium Movie Partnership (Universal, Sony Columbia and Fox) expires at the end of 2013. With its stronger position, Colman predicts Foxtel will not renew either deal but will negotiate directly with the studios. Foxtel now pays about $160M per year for studio movies, he estimates.