If you want a PVR to record live TV without having to subscribe to any Pay TV channels then Fetch TV is the only real option in Australia.
Fetch TV’s Mighty PVR (view and record) as well as Mini (view only) enable users to watch Free TV, Catch-Up, premium channels, streaming apps, and movies all in one box. As of 4 years ago it had over 700,000 subscribers who paid for some or all of the premium cable channels available via Fetch.
Telstra’s deal to licence Roku software for it’s Telstra TV boxes will expire soon so it’s interesting to note a rumour reported by the SMH that Telstra is keen to buy a majority stake in Fetch:
“Industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal talks were confidential said Telstra was in advanced talks with Fetch, a long-time media partner of Optus, its main rival in the mobile and fixed-line telecoms markets.”
Logically Telstra could want to buy Fetch to provide the software and hardware to replace it’s current Telstra TV offering.
However the ACCC might not be happy if Telstra (which owns 35% of Foxtel) decided to make a bid to control Fetch (Foxtel’s only PVR competitor).
The deal would likely only be approved if Telstra sold it’s Foxtel stake as a pre-condition and promised to keep allowing access to Fetch hardware and services on fair terms to Fetch’s current ISP partners such as Optus, Aussie Broadband, iiNet etc.
Would Telstra as an owner ruin the Fetch experience or enhance it?
On the plus side Telstra has a lot of money so that could improve the hardware and software development for Fetch.
By adding it’s 1 million+ Telstra TV users to the Fetch platform, Telstra would also have more negotiating power to get more big name apps available on Fetch ASAP eg: Kayo, Binge and Disney+.
On the negative side the price for Fetch $6 premium channel packs and $20 for all the channel packs in a bundle hasn’t risen for 5 years and Telstra might be tempted to raise the prices to increase revenue per customer.
Telstra also is well known for it’s frustrating poor quality overseas customer service which would presumably handle Fetch enquiries if they took over.
Anyway this is a rumour, let’s see what happens.
What do you think of Telstra’s alleged plan to to takeover Fetch TV?