Welcome, to the world of tomorrow… today!
In a country where the copper wiring, mobile phones and non-sexual STDs were controlled by one company that’s had a couple of name changes (Australian Telecommunications Commission / Australian Telecommunications Corporation / Telecom Australia / Telstra) for all its life, there was a threat for new competition to squeeze itself in.
When Optus popped up in 1991 after gaining a carrier licence, the battle was on with price wars for the telephony market. But with technology evolving, it wasn’t until 1993, when the idea of Pay TV popped up on the radar. Galaxy – a joint venture of Continental Century Pay-TV and Australis Media – was the first satellite / cable subscription TV service to provide non-stop entertainment to the Australian household. Launched at the beginning of 1995, Galaxy provided the paying household more channels, TV shows, sports, music channels and movies than you can poke a stick at, other than the standard free-to-air services ABC, Ten, Nine, Seven, SBS and Channel 31.
This was a whole new source of entertainment that media companies were threatened by, but also wanted a slice of the pie. In 1995, while Telstra and News Corporation joined forces to develop their own service – known as Foxtel, Optus scrambled together with PBL Media and the Seven Network to form Optus Vision – launching in September 1995, a month before Foxtel.
If you were one of the lucky people to have Optus Vision set up at home in its early days, you were greeted to an 18 minute video tutorial on how your new Pay TV set top box operated, and what your new provider of high quality entertainment would supply.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the mid-nineties of the cathode ray tube.
PS: To summarize everything in the last 20+ years:
- Galaxy went bankrupt in 1998
- Super League v ARL – Google it – it’s an interesting blood war for Rugby League rights for Foxtel v Optus Vision
- Optus Vision started crumbling away in 2002, losing some exclusive rights to some channels, making them available to Foxtel
- Optus Vision dissolved in 2009, and molded itself into Optus TV in 2011
- ADSL + NBN = Netflix.