Subscription broadcasting (pay TV) services provide programs of general appeal that are available only on payment of subscription fees. Pay TV services are funded by subscriptions and limited advertising revenue.
As at 31 March 2013, approximately 33 per cent of the Australian population, or 29 per cent of Australian households, subscribed to a pay TV service. The main retail pay TV service provider in Australia is Foxtel, which provides its customers with a fully-digital pay TV service with a wide range of channels across multiple platforms including Telstra’s broadband cable network, satellite, mobile and PC. As at 30 June 2013, Foxtel had approximately 2.5 million subscribers.
Pay TV is also increasingly available in the form of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services bundled with internet connections. These IPTV services include channel packages provided by Foxtel and content packages offered by providers such as Fetch TV that are typically available through particular internet service providers
The VAST service is a direct-to-home, free-to-air digital TV satellite service which covers all of Australia. Viewers who cannot receive free-to-air digital television services from the terrestrial transmitters that serve their area have access to a reliable free-to-air satellite TV service, which delivers the same number of digital channels that are available terrestrially in metropolitan and regional markets.
Anyone may apply for and be authorised to receive national broadcasting services (ABC, SBS) on VAST. However, specific rules and a conditional access scheme apply to viewers wanting access to commercial television broadcasting services via VAST.
The ABC and SBS also provide a wide range of radio services on VAST.
Information on the VAST service areas, how to apply to access VAST and the conditional access system is available from the Australian Communication and Media Authority’ s website at www.acma.gov.au