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Retransmission decision will not threaten cable subscriber access to Free-To-Air services



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Wednesday 11 March 1998 MEDIA RELEASE

RETRANSMISSION DECISION WILL NOT THREATEN CABLE SUBSCRIBER ACCESS TO FREE-TO-AIR SERVICES

The industry body for Australia's commercial television stations, FACTS, today rejected as absurd, alarmist and ill-informed the claim» by Pay Television operators that a Federal Government decision on retransmission o f free-to-air signals will lead to higher Pay Television Subscription charges.

For some time Pay Television ha» been retransmitting the signal o f the five major television networks, This has been done without the agreement o f those networks.

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The recent decision by the Government requiring Pay TV companies to negotiate retransmission with each o f the networks should not be passed on in the form o f higher charges to Pay TV subscribers, who are already paying for the existing range o f services

Commercial television stations are willing to negotiate sensible ongoing commercial arrangements to ensure that cable subscribers don't lose easy access to free-to-air services.

Free-to-air signals are a valuable part o f the package Pay TV operators offer their subscribers. What the Government’s decision means is that Pay TV operators will now have to negotiate terms for carrying these signals, rather than simply appropriating them without cost as they have done to date.

A similar negotiated consent approach has worked smoothly in the United States for the past five years, and has not disrupted viewing arrangements or resulted in any identifiable increase in Pay TV subscriber fees. The claims today by the Pay TV operators are yet another example in an ongoing campaign o f misinformation concerning the future direction o f new technologies in Australia. The free-to-air networks are committed to ensuring that all Australians have access to new technologies and services at minimal or no cost.

For further information:

Tony Branigan Tel: (02) 9960 2622

Mobile: 0419 022 617