Australian Financial Review
3 July 2006
WIN Corporation will use its latest acquisition, SelecTV, to move
into the internet television business and introduce new pay TV channels
using content from its other media assets.
The regional media group, owned by Bermuda-based Australian Bruce
Gordon, bought 52 per cent of the pay TV operator SelecTV late last
week for $23.5 million.
WIN chief executive George Papadopolous said the company had already
developed plans for pay TV channels and to use SelecTV and WIN's
Digital Distribution Australia subsidiary to create an internet
The cash offer by WIN trumped a scrip-based bid for SelecTV that
wireless broadband company Access Providers lodged in mid-June.
Access bid for SelecTV the day after the three-year-old company,
which has just 3500 subscribers, called off a float due to lack
of investor interest.
Other shareholders in SelecTV include the Myer family, with 11 per
cent, SelecTV chief executive Jim Blomfield (3 per cent), former
Seek chairman Irvin Rockman (2 per cent), Wilson Asset Management
(2 per cent) and Challenger Financial Services (3 per cent).
Challenger is 20 per cent-owned by James Packer's private company,
Consolidated Press Holdings.
Mr Papadopolous said SelecTV was a "fantastic opportunity to
get a pay TV business in regional and metropolitan markets".
"It's a no-frills operation and very tightly run, which is
how we do things at WIN," he said.
SelecTV had revenue of $525,401 in the eight months to February
28 this year and lost $3.7 million. It is burning about $1.1 million
The company runs 36 channels, including BBC World, Bloomberg Television,
Cartoon Network, MTV and some foreign-language channels.
It charges $29.95 a month for 20 English-language channels, which
was the lowest pay TV subscription rate until Foxtel and Austar
recently dropped their prices.
WIN owns Australia's largest regional TV business, plus 10.1 per
cent of Ten Network, 42 per cent of Perth TV station STW, the TV
infrastructure business Digital Distribution Australia, TV program
production company Crawford, 50 per cent of Village cinemas in Tasmania,
50 per cent of the St George Illawarra rugby league club and 1.5
per cent of PBL.
SelecTV needs 80,000 subscribers to break even. Mr Papadopolous
said it would reach that number, in part, by targeting the people
who were "left stranded" when the ethnic pay TV company
TARBS collapsed in 2004.
WIN also hopes to attract subscribers by marketing SelecTV through
its regional TV stations.
WIN also plans to create a channel called Aussie Gold for SelecTV,
using old Crawford TV series, and create a news channel from WIN's
regional TV news services.