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The Age

No fanfare as Foxtel hits the airwaves

Date: 23/10/1995
Words: 247
          Publication: The Age
Page: 6

Foxtel, the cable TV partnership of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Telstra, eschewed the drum rolls and dramatic gestures of its rival, Optus Vision, for its launch last night.

It did put on a party for its staff and others who helped it get going. A cover band, One Hit Wonders, (not an omen), performed at Foxtel's Pyrmont Bay studios, and Foxtel's chief executive, Mr Mark Booth, who had vowed to ``get trashed" after the year's work, flicked the switch at 7pm.

Identifying the first face on Foxtel is not easy, for there was no introductory blurb and no equivalant to the ``first man on television", Bruce Gyngell, who did the honors for Optus Vision last month and for Channel Nine 39 years ago.

Each of Foxtel's 19 channels simply lit up and got on with it, watched by a handful of cable customers. Eight of them were already being seen by Australis Media's 31,000 microwave customers, anyway.

Bill Collins, the effusive movie presenter formerly of Ten Network, might claim the title, but he was late introducing the Seven Year Itch, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell on Foxtel's other channel, FX, at 7.30. Mother Wore Tights followed.

Foxtel also announced a deal with Steven Vizard's Artist Services to buy 100 hours of original drama to meet its local drama content quota, the first big local production deal signed by a pay TV service.

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