The undertakings Foxtel made to the ACCC in 2012 to get approval for the Austar merger have now expired, which means they are able to contract channels like CNN and Cartoon Network exclusively again.
Back then a lot of people didn’t notice the details said that Foxtel only agreed to play nice with competitors for 8 years. No one should be surprised that Foxtel have made a fast move as soon as they were legally able to, in order to try and weaken it’s main DVR subscription TV competitor Fetch TV’s content offering.
It’s a safe bet that Foxtel is working on plans to make other channels exclusive again with ACCC exclusivity protection in Australia also removed from other big channels like UK TV, National Geographic, ESPN 1 and 2 and BBC World News.
Fetch announced the changes will occur from April 22nd 2021:
We regret to advise that CNN will be removed from the Knowledge and Ultimate packs, and Cartoon Network and Boomerang will be removed from the Kids and Ultimate packs. The changes are the result of a recent exclusive carriage agreement entered into between Foxtel and the channel’s owner, Warner Media. We are disappointed that we are no longer able to offer them on the Fetch platform.
We will be adding 2 exciting additions to the Kids pack from April 22nd, and we will announce those next week. We recently added MSBNC to the Knowledge Pack. MSNBC is now the #1 rated news channel in the US during prime time, ahead of CNN and Fox News. The Knowledge Pack also includes BBC World News and 8 other international news and business news channels.
We are particularly disappointed at the loss of CNN. International News provides an important public benefit, and Fetch is proud to provide access to such a diverse suite of news channels as part of the Knowledge Pack (for only $6 pm). The exclusivity arrangement for CNN in Australia is inconsistent with global norms, and will result in reduced access and affordability.
If you share the concerns Fetch raised, you may wish to lodge a complaint with the ACCC.
Will the lost channels cause you to quit Fetch TV, switch to Foxtel or stay with Fetch TV?