Sky News Australia is considering departing Foxtel and moving to Free To Air Television, a move that would put it in direct competition with its news rival ABC24.
Sky News Boss Angelos Frangopoulos discussed the move at a Sky Board meeting on Tuesday night.
''We are always looking at new opportunities for the [Sky] business but we are clearly a subscription business and any changes to that would have to be carefully thought through,'' Mr Frangopoulos told journalists after the meeting.
The move would be a major change to Sky’s business model, currently they generate the majority of their income via Foxtel subscription income, they would need to drastically increase Ad revenue to make a move to FTA worthwhile.
In order to complete the move Sky would need to negotiate for spectrum from an existing FTA broadcaster, most likely one of its owners Seven or Nine, although Ten could also be a possibility given the connections between Lachlan Murdoch and News Corp. Nine has previously considered merging its Canberra news bureau with Sky News.
Since the closure of analogue television earlier this year, Free To Air broadcasters have been considering ways of generating revenue from the newly available spectrum. Racing broadcaster TVN has also had talks with Seven discussing moving it's business away from Foxtel and onto a Seven Network multichannel.
The move to Free TV would certainly gain support from the Coalition Government which has recently been critical of the ABC’ perceived bias. A spokesman for Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had not been consulted about the proposal but added: "They [Sky News] are free to put forward that proposal if they wish to.''
Source - The Age