iiNet trial FetchTV and customers are watching

iiNet recently trialled a new broadband internet-delivered pay-TV service called FetchTV, and according to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) it has proven to be a major success. With 95% of 100 participating homes deciding to continue on with the paid service after the free trial ended, it’s hard to disagree.

iiNet’s chief technology officer, Greg Bader, told the Australian that iiNet was currently the only ISP to sell the FetchTV service in Australia. Mr Bader said the popularity of the new service was a result of the ability for broadband customers to watch movies, as well as homes who spoke languages other than English being able to watch foreign language TV channels.

All that is missing thus far on FetchTV is sport. However, FetchTV’s quest for sporting coverage took a step forward last week when it released plans to offer basic subscribers access to Fox Sport News from September, 2010.

Interestingly, Fox Sport News is part of the Premier Media Group, owned by Consolidated Media Holdings and News Limited, which owns shares in FetchTV’s rival, pay-TV provider Foxtel (via Telstra).

Of course Telstra already has its own internet TV device, the T-Box, with sport being one of its strong points. T-Box has internet sporting channels showing Australian Rules football, rugby league, motor and car racing.

Mr Bader said about the issue, “The one hole in our line-up is sport … Fox Sports News is arguably the best sports news channel in the country. We've got some more stuff that will be coming through over the next few weeks."

In the meantime, iiNet awaits further good news as FetchTV bids for various TV sporting rights including those of various English Premier League and European soccer clubs.

Soccer clubs have created a special internet content category for exclusive club content and match replays within broad competition broadcast and internet rights deals. The best example of this is Foxtel’s recent acquisition of the English Premier League’s internet TV rights.