Subscription television in Australia

Subscription television in Australia consists of a dominant cable and satellite television provider Foxtel and its regional subsidiary Austar, with several smaller cable and satellite service providers operating in limited geographic areas. Other providers of Internet television in Australia offer free content or pay-per-view, but don't offer a subscription service.

In 2012, only about 28% of Australian homes had a pay TV subscription, which is one of the lowest subscriber rates in the developed world.[1] However, this rate is expected to rise from new delivery methods IPTV and streaming television services, including Apple TV, Netflix, Presto, Stan and Quickflix.[2]


Galaxy was the first provider of subscription television in Australia, launching a MMDS service on 26 January 1995.[3] Originally Premier Sports Network was the only local channel to be fully operational, with Showtime and Encore launching in March.[4] They were later joined in April by TV1, Arena, Max, Red and Quest.[5][6] A satellite service was launched later in the year.

Optus Vision launched their cable service on 19 September followed by Foxtel on 22 October.[7][8]

Northgate Communications launched their service on 13 March 1997.[9] It was later acquired by Neighbourhood Cable.[10]

Galaxy was closed on 20 May 1998.[11] Two weeks later Foxtel significantly boosted its customer base by acquiring Galaxy subscribers from the liquidator of Australis Media and immediately commenced supplying programming to Galaxy's subscribers on an interim basis.[12] In February 1999 Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.[13]

Following the collapse, ECTV quickly signed a deal with Optus Vision.[14] Less than two months later, it was acquired by Austar, along with its stake in XYZ.[15] Austar replaced the ECTV packages with their own in September.[16]

TransTV launched in 2001, beginning with VoD followed later by linear channels.[17][18]

UBI World TV launched in 2004. Also in 2004, Foxtel and Austar both launched their digital offerings, with a total of 130 channels. The following year, Foxtel introduces their Foxtel iQ personal video recorder.[19]

SelecTV launched on 12 April 2006.[20] It ceased its English programming in late 2010.[21]

Neighbourhood Cable with its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable networks in three Victorian regional cities of Mildura, Ballarat and Geelong was acquired by TransACT at the end of 2007.[22] In November 2011, TransACT was acquired by iiNet Limited, which in 2015 itself became a subsidiary of TPG.[23]

Foxtel commenced their HD service in February 2009.

Fetch TV entered the market in 2010 with a subscription service over a few ADSL2+ networks.

Channels available

Almost all channels which currently or previously operated in Australia were available through Foxtel and Austar, being the dominant player in the market. However, some smaller competitors offer a subset of channels which are exclusive or unavailable on Foxtel services.

The majority of channels not available through Foxtel are non-English language channels. UBI World TV offers a number of ethnic satellite TV and Radio channels nationwide, and other companies offer some channels via satellite, and some channels are available over the internet.



HFC Cable

IPTV / Internet Television

Defunct Services

See also


  1. "We don't love pay-TV like the rest. So what's Foxtel really worth?". Crikey. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  2. "THE NETFLIX CHALLENGE: The Two Major Hurdles In The Australian Market For The Service Transforming The TV Industry". Business Insider. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  3. Bertolus, Phil (2 February 1995). "AT HOME WITH PAY TV". The Age Green Guide. p. 1. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  4. Oliver, Robin (6 March 1997). "Galaxy of stars but light on hard info". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 8. Retrieved 27 December 2009. In addition to its sports network, already operating, Galaxy trebled the choice on Friday when Showtime, a premium movie channel, and Encore, a movie favourites channel, got under way.
  5. Wilmoth, Peter (15 April 1997). "Do we really need pay-TV". The Sunday Age. p. 5. Retrieved 27 December 2009. TV1 channel, the service's fourth channel of the eight planned, which was launched on 2 April
  6. Browne, Rachel (22 April 1995). "Galaxy takes knife to fees". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. p. 23. Retrieved 21 December 2009. XYZ Entertainment is launching the other four Galaxy channels today. They are a documentary channel Quest, children's and cult TV channel Max, general entertainment channel Arena and music channel Red.
  7. Potter, Ben (19 September 1995). "Handful of households switch on to cable". The Age. p. 6. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. Potter, Ben (23 October 1995). "No fanfare as Foxtel hits the airwaves". The Age. p. 6. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  9. Walker, David (14 March 1997). "Ballarat backs new cable roll-out". The Age. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  10. "Pay TV operator offers free phone in bush.". The Australian. 14 December 1999. p. 32.
  11. Simpson, Kirsty (21 May 1998). "Business: Lights out for Galaxy". The Age. p. 1. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  12. Anne, By (3 June 1998). "Business: Foxtel pulls off coup in battle for pay TV". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 31. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  13. Daniel, By (28 February 1999). "Pay TV audience doubles". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. p. 33. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  14. Joyce, James (29 May 1998). "Friday Guide: ECT's New Pay-TV Vision". Newcastle Herald. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  15. Mathieson, Clive (10 July 1998). "Austar expands pay TV interests.". The Australian. p. 23.
  16. Allen, Jodi (28 August 1998). "PayTV Hope Looms on Region's Horizon". Illawarra Mercury. p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  17. Manktelow, Nicole (13 March 2001). "Information Technology: ACT Debuts Video On Demand". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 8. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  18. Manktelow, Nicole (7 August 2001). "Information Technology: Mix Of TV Gets Canberra On Cable". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  20. Bolt, Cathy (12 April 2006). "$20m float for pay-TV player". The West Australian. Perth, Australia: West Australian Newspapers Limited. p. 58.
  21. Chessell, James (20 August 2010). "City Beat: Bruce Gordon's SelecTV to make changes". The Australian. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  22. Downie, Graham (19 December 2007). "TransACT in Vic move". Canberra Times. p. 6.
  23. Hopewell, Luke (August 2015). "ACCC Gives TPG The A-OK To Buy iiNet". Gizmodo. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  24. "iiNet to deliver TV over internet". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  25. Sinclair, Lara (24 November 2009). "Finance: Fetch locks in TV partners". The Australian. p. 21. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  26. Foxtel on Xbox 360 Pricing Announced
  27. "Time called on WIN's pay TV company". The Spy Report (Media Spy). Retrieved 2 March 2011.
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