Dick Smith's Blog

They must laugh at the Murdoch Board meetings in New York

Can you believe it? FOXTEL has the monopoly on Pay TV in Australia. Previously there was AUSTAR and FOXTEL, and they were forced to operate in different market places, one in regional Australia (AUSTAR) and the other in Metropolitan areas (FOXTEL). Competition could have been introduced by allowing each company to operate in all market places. This would have resulted in Australia having two competitive Pay TV networks – just like the U.S.A or Europe, each providing a service in a competitive way to anyone who wanted to subscribe to that particular company.

What happened? No doubt it was the astute Murdoch Executives at FOXTEL who managed to convince our politicians, that seeing we now have free-to-air TV with extra channels that FOXTEL should be allowed to take over AUSTAR and have a complete monopoly on Pay TV. And that’s what they have done!

 What’s it resulted in? I understand this has resulted in FOXTEL subscriptions being one of the most expensive in the world.

As I said, back at the Murdoch board meeting in the U.S.A they must be rolling around with laughter at the stupidity of Australians. Understand that board is doing the right thing, it has one instruction alone and that is for the Australian operations to send perpetually increasing amounts of money out of Australia and to New York. Otherwise the shareholders would insist the Board gets the sack.

Of course at the present time FOXTEL is 50% owned by Telstra; however how long will that last? Wait for the announcement that Mr Murdoch has been given approval to take over the whole of FOXTEL. Mr Murdoch is so astute I wonder if it will be very long before that happens.

I remember when Pay TV was first introduced we were told that we would pay for the service but it would be without ads – many of us (including myself) thought ‘that’s a good idea, I can’t stand ads’. However look at it now, there seems to be more ads on Pay TV than on free-to-air TV. You know Rupert Murdoch is somehow involved. He is simply the most astute and most capable capitalist of modern times. I think he is a great bloke too, but I wish he would come back to Australia and concentrate on things here, and not on his World Empire.

Yes, I am selfish and I am patriotic, and it looks to me as if we are going back to the old colonial days - they were the days when most of the important decisions in Australia were made from the northern hemisphere. Look at what is happening now with most of our huge companies (e.g. KRAFT & News Limited) being operated from the northern hemisphere, that’s where the control comes from.


I will be interested to see what happens if we ever have a major policy difference with the U.S.A. Will the US board of News Limited be loyal to their own country or will they be loyal to Australia?

Have no fear, I think they will be loyal to their Shareholders and make the decisions on how to maximise the money coming out of Australia and being distributed to their primarily northern hemisphere Shareholders.

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