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Fed: Foxtel launches new web portal

By Katherine Field, National Entertainment Writer
21 Apr 2009 6:07 PM

SYDNEY, April 21 AAP - Foxtel boss Kim Williams says the pay TV provider will innovate more in the next 12 months than ever before as it makes content available on the web.

Foxtel launched a new web portal on Monday, to allow users to watch teasers, get recommendations, get information, manage accounts and view a 14-day program guide.

It is the first in a series of changes as Foxtel plans to launch its major renovation in October, with longer content to become available.

Mr Williams said Foxtel was changing rapidly.

"(This) is the first in a sequence of announcements about the direction and innovation of our product in the course of the next year," Mr Williams said at the launch in Sydney.

"It's a remarkably exciting time for all of us at Foxtel as we'll probably make as many innovations to the product over the course of the next 12 months as we've made in the entire history of Foxtel to date."

It's part of a bigger plan to build the provider and its number of channels from 150 to 170 in the later part of the year.

Mr Williams said Foxtel hoped to service existing customers and entice new ones with the website.

"We've got some pretty sexy approaches to the way in which you can find content that will delight you and access it pretty easily," Mr Williams said.

He would not give exact figures but said hundreds of thousands of customers used the site, and he expected it to grow.

Executive director of sales and product development Patrick Delany said it was easy to use.

"Foxtel's new site brings TV to the net," he said.

"We've taken a huge amount of video clips and promos and put them online to watch at any time."

Mr Williams and Mr Delany also took the time to hit out at digital video recorder TiVo, the rival player to Foxtel's IQ device.

"We are well ahead of TiVo," Mr Williams said.

They also said they didn't think much of TiVo's plans to allow people to order pizza and other services through their televisions.

"They're in the category of the announcement category - it's a nice announcement, as to the commerce behind it and as to the actual usability of it and the utility of it in a consumer's home - so close to zero it doesn't count," Mr Williams said.