The ACCC commenced market consultation on the proposed undertaking offered by FOXTEL in respect of its proposed acquisition of Austar.
According to the terms of the proposed undertaking, FOXTEL will be prevented from entering into exclusive content agreements to acquire internet protocol television (IPTV) rights for a range of attractive content to allow that content to be made available to existing and future competitors of FOXTEL and Telstra. The purpose behind reducing content exclusivity is to lower barriers to entry and promote new and effective competition in telecommunications and subscription television markets. The ACCC expects that as telecommunications networks develop, the undertaking will create opportunities for new and existing competitors to develop differentiated and more affordable subscription television offerings.
The proposed undertaking aims to further lower barriers by requiring FOXTEL to provide necessary signal access to linear channels distributed by independent content suppliers (and which FOXTEL itself distributes to its subscribers) to third parties. It will also extend FOXTEL's Special Access Undertaking (given by FOXTEL to the ACCC in 2006) so that content suppliers can gain access to Austar subscribers as well as FOXTEL subscribers as is presently the case.
The ACCC is seeking views on the above from market participants, before deciding whether to accept or reject the proposed undertaking.