Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Australia’s free-to-air TV networks will gradually lose their role as entertainment gateways due to the rise of smart TVs and the roll-out of the federal government’s high-speed $30.4B ($31.7B) National Broadband Network, according to media/telco research firm BuddeComm. “The major trouble for the free-to-air operators is not so much that they are losing customers (but ) the decline in advertising income and this is set to continue and eventually the advertising-based business model underpinning free-to-air could indeed collapse,” Paul Budde wrote in the report. Budde notes smart TVs are capturing a larger market share week-by-week and the FTA broadcasters will face increasing competition when Google and Apple begin to integrate their own TV entertainment applications and software into smart TVs. IPTV services offered by telcos and ISPs are gaining momentum, with Fetch TV reaching 50,000 subscribers.