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Big Blow for Foxtel as they lose exclusive rights for premium drama channel BBC First

NewsKevin Perry
A new season of Peaky Blinders - just one of the premium dramas available on Fetch TV in 2015. image source - BBC Worldwide

A new season of Peaky Blinders - just one of the premium dramas available on Fetch TV in 2015.
image source - BBC Worldwide

In a surprise move Fetch TV has announced a new deal that will see it add seven premium channels to it's service from February 1st 2015. 

The new channels are: BBC First, BBC Knowledge, BBC UKTV, The Food Network, Universal Channel, Nat Geo Wild and HGTV.

The deals means Foxtel has lost exclusive rights to the BBC Drama channel. A service it has highly promoted since it launched on Foxtel in August.

The seven channels will be added to the Fetch TV Entertainment Pack at no extra cost, along with several additional specialist channels that will be announced in the coming weeks.  These changes, along with the addition last month of ESPN and ESPN 2 for Optus Fetch TV subscribers (making them available on all Fetch TV partner services), represent a significant upgrade to the Fetch TV channel offering.

It's not all good news for customers however, as part of these changes, Fetch TV will no longer offer 6 channels - Fox Sports News, Discovery Home & Health, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, and Discovery Turbo.

Scott Lorson, CEO of FetchTV said: “Fetch TV and our partners are committed to offering Australian consumers an exceptional entertainment experience.  Today we add to our challenger credentials with a significant upgrade to our content offering. With the addition of seven premium channels, Fetch TV subscribers can now enjoy a market-leading base pack that includes 36 channels from leading providers including; BBC Worldwide, National Geographic, NBCUniversal, MTV, ESPN, Disney, Nickelodeon and Scripps Networks, from just $15 per month.

Mr. Lorson continued: “We are very to pleased to respond to feedback from our customers who have been requesting the addition of the “best of the BBC”, including the acclaimed BBC First.   We are also delighted to be the first to introduce two of the world’s most loved Lifestyle channels, Food Network and HGTV, from market leader Scripps Networks, to the Australian market. The inclusion of Nat Geo WILD, along with the high quality character based Universal Channel are also expected to be a huge hit with our subscribers”.

Jon Penn, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand:  "We are delighted to extend our partnership with Fetch TV to include the BBC Channels.  The Fetch TV platform is growing quickly and this is a strategic move that well help us to extend reach for our channels and grow our brand in Australia.”

Mr. Derek Chang, Managing Director of Scripps Networks Interactive, Asia-Pacific said, “Scripps Networks content has been available in Australia for many years through multiple platforms, and we see that there is great demand for our high quality content. We are thrilled that we can now bring the full experience of HGTV and Food Network to Fetch TV audiences, which also complements our current offering on the platform, where Travel Channel is already available.  Fetch TV viewers can now enjoy a full suite of lifestyle channels dedicated to the home, food and travel categories.”

Chris Taylor, VP Television Australia & New Zealand of NBCUniversal: “We’re very happy to be able to offer Universal Channel to Fetch TV subscribers, complementing E!, Style and Syfy channels that are already known and loved by subscribers.” 

Jacqui Feeney, Managing Director of Fox International Channels, Australia And New Zealand: “We are thrilled that Fetch viewers will now receive the complete portfolio of National Geographic Channels with the addition of our blue-chip best Nat Geo Wild channel.  Nat Geo Wild provides unique insight into the amazing creatures that inhabit our natural environment and joins National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo People channel on Fetch TV.”

In 2014, Fetch TV solidified its position as the number two Australian pay TV provider, with the number of subscribers taking the Entertainment Pack increasing by around 500%.