Foxtel picks retail channel for digital TV play

Foxtel is hoping to harness the sales muscle of mass merchant retailers when it launches its digital TV service this month.

With a high-profile advertising campaign starring Australian film star, Hugh Jackman, kicking off its digital service on March 14, Foxtel has signed a handful of retailers including Harvey Norman to sell the service in a retail box.

The retail box includes a digital remote and DVD/CD ROM which demonstrates the features of the service.

Retailers would connect customers instore and book their installation time and date, Foxtel sales director, Guy Mayne, said.

Foxtel has traditionally sold through its direct sales force and bundled offerings from ISPs.

Harvey Norman began selling Foxtel’s analogue pay TV late last year, but those retail bundles were taken off shelves last week in preparation for the launch of the digital service, Mayne said.

Foxtel has also signed distributor, Tech Pacific, to fulfill the boxed product to its retail partners, although installation will still be done by Foxtel technicians. Other retailers who will sell Foxtel include Dick Smith, Crazy Johns and some Retravision stores.

The company had elected to sell its new digital service through retail to take advantage of their experience at selling audiovisual products, Mayne said.

“It’s a new experience for customers, being able to walk up and play with Foxtel digital on a live feed,” he said.

Retailers would be able to showcase the new and improved features of the digital service, including its improved sound and picture, Mayne said.

Both new customers and upgrading Foxtel users would require a new digital set-top-unit and remote control for the digital service.

Foxtel and rival Austar will both launch their digital television services on March 14.

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