Advanced Television

ACCC clears Telstra’s Fetch TV deal

July 14, 2022

By Colin Mann

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said will not oppose the proposed acquisition of 51.4 per cent of Media Innovations Holdings Pty Ltd (Fetch TV) by Telstra Corporation.

Telstra and Fetch TV both supply content aggregation services through set-top-boxes. Telstra supplies Telstra TV with eligible Telstra retail broadband services and Fetch TV supplies set-top-boxes to broadband retailers to supply as an add-on to broadband services, and directly to consumers through select retail stores.

The ACCC’s review focused on whether Telstra would have the ability and incentive to foreclose competing broadband retailer’s access to Fetch TV.

“Our investigation found that entertainment offerings are one important way for broadband retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors,” commented ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver. “However, Fetch TV does not appear to be critical or a ‘must have’ aspect for Telstra’s retail broadband competitors to offer consumers a competitive retail broadband service. With this in mind, it is unlikely the proposed transaction would lead to Telstra foreclosing rival broadband providers,” she added.

Several broadband retailers, including those that offer Fetch TV, also supply other entertainment offerings or other inclusions. For example, SubHub by Optus allows customers to combine and save on subscription video on-demand services like Netflix.

Optus, the third largest broadband retailer and a customer of Fetch TV, has paused offering new Fetch TV services to broadband customers.

“Less than 10 per cent of retail broadband customers in Australia acquire Fetch TV services from their retailer and there are a growing number of ways in which consumers access and consume entertainment content, including through smart TVs without the use of a set-top-box,” noted Carver.

The ACCC also considered the overlap between Telstra TV, Fetch TV and Foxtel, which is 35 per cent owned by Telstra. The ACCC concluded that Telstra TV, Fetch TV and Foxtel would continue to face competition from other technologies and differentiated services such as smart TVs and hardware devices such as Amazon Firestick, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and gaming consoles.

“While Telstra is the largest broadband retailer in Australia, we have carefully examined the facts and circumstances of this acquisition as well as changes in the way consumers access entertainment. We have concluded that this acquisition is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition,” said Carver.

Fetch TV is currently 95 per cent owned by entities associated with Astro Overseas Limited, with the remaining 5 per cent held by current and former  Fetch TV employees. With Telstra’s 51.4 per cent acquired interest in Fetch TV,  Astro Overseas Limited will hold the remaining 48.6 per cent interest in Fetch TV.

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