Thursday, 14 July 2022 11:15

ACCC says will ‘not oppose’ Telstra acquisition of majority stake in Fetch TV Featured

By Staff Writer

Australia’s competition watchdog the ACCC has given the green light to Telstra’s proposed acquisition of 51.4% of FetchTV following an investigation and review of the deal.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said today that although Telstra and Fetch TV both supply content aggregation services through set-top-boxes, it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of 51.4% of Media Innovations Holdings, the holding company for Fetch TV.

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 announcement followed its review of the proposed deal focussed 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,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.

“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,” Commissioner Carver said.

The ACCC notes that 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.

The Commission says that 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,” Commissioner Carver said.

The ACCC said it had also considered the overlap between Telstra TV, Fetch TV and Foxtel, which is 35% owned by Telstra, and it concluded that Telstra TV, Fetch TV and Foxtel would continue to face competition from other technologies and differentiated services such as smart TV’s 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,” Commission Carver said.

Further information is available at: Telstra Corporation Ltd - Media Innovations Holdings Pty Ltd (Fetch TV)

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