iiNet is no longer selling the Fetch TV set-top box, which it launched with such fanfare last year. No announcement has been made, but the move is believed to have been at the command of new owner TPG, which received approval for its $1.6 billion takeover of iiNet just last week (CommsWire, 21 August 2015).
Visitors to the Fetch TV page on the iiNet website are greeted with the message ‘This product is no longer available for purchase’. There is no explanation, though it does say that existing iiNet Fetch TV customers can still use the service.
Fetch TV, which combines video on demand (VOD) with a DVR-type set-top box, had been introduced by iiNet to provide an alternative to Foxtel. iiNet was one of its FetchTV’s larger sales channels, though it is also sold through Optus, which has been promoting it strongly in recent months.
Fetch TV is controlled by Malaysia’s Astro All Asia Networks, with a minority shareholding by Harvey Norman. It was the first Australian VOD service to offer Netflix. With Optus now its only substantial reseller, and with increased competition from the growing number of competitors like Stan and Presto and the new Telstra TV based on the Roku box, it is hard to see it remaining viable in Australia.
More importantly – at least for iiNet customers – is what this shows about TPG’s plans for its new subsidiary. TPG is known for its hard-headed approach to business. That is what has made it successful. But all those who warned that iiNet’s direction, and its well-known commitment to its customers, would change under TPG’s leadership have already been proved correct.
The speed of the decision indicates that TPG will waste no time stamping its authority on iiNet and its other brands, like Internode and Westnet. What will be cut next?