Foxtel punched a $37 million hole in Telstra’s results today, with the telco’s results presentation showing the distribution from the pay television company dropped to $0 in 2017, from $37 million in the prior year.
The result comes just days after News Corp wrote down the value of its stake in Foxtel, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Telstra.
Foxtel’s revenue had also dropped to $3.2 billion, from $3.3 billion in 2016, while the total comprehensive income fell around one third, from $181 million last year to $123 million.
News Corp last week wrote down its investment in Foxtel by $289 million, due to the falling value of the pay TV company’s 14% stake in the troubled Ten Network.
Telstra did not write down any of its half-share in Foxtel, with Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn declining to say after the results announcement whether he’d inspected Ten Network’s books.
Foxtel has seen subscriber numbers drop in the face of competition from internet-based rivals such as Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime. One analyst last week even predicted Australians paying for streaming would overtake the number of people subscribing to pay television within 12 months.
“We’ve been in ongoing discussions regarding how do we position Foxtel for success in that environment,” Penn said.
“Foxtel has the pre-eminent content in the country… There’s no doubt that streaming and new services are changing the dynamics of the industry and Foxtel has to respond to that, juyt as many businesses have to respond to the impact of digital disruption.”
The amount of pay TV services Telstra bought from the joint venture, to include in its bundles for telephony customers, increased to $811 million from 2016’s $720 million. In return, Foxtel bought $103 million of broadband services to bundle for some its pay TV customers.