Australia's Telstra tees up Internet VOD service
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World Markets Analysis
February 22, 2006
By Jing Li
From Lexis Nexis
Telstra has today launched its BigPond Movies Downloads service, which gives customers access to feature films, latest releases, classic television series and music videos on their PCs.
Customers can simply join up, install the BigPond Media Manager on their PCs, then go to the relevant website to download. Prices range from US$1.95 for short TV shows to US$5.95 for recent-release feature films. BigPond members get a 20% discount on the standard prices.
To enrich the service content, Telstra has partnered with the top Hollywood studios, independent distributors such as Dendy, Becker and Madman, documentary specialists Exero and Discovery International, and leading broadcasters including ABC and Granada Television. Sony BMG, Warner and Universal are partnering with the firm for music video downloads.
Significance: The launch of BigPond Movies Downloads follows Telstra's move to boost its BigPond broadband speed last week (see Australia: 14 February 2006: Telstra Boosts Broadband Speed Ahead of Movie Download Service Launch).
The video-on-demand (VOD) service is expected to be highly attractive to customers, owing to its convenience and rich content. The operator will be able to expand its broadband customer base and enjoy additional revenues from the new service.
As the decline of its fixed-line business accelerates, Telstra has been committed to growing its broadband services. The operator had 2.34 million broadband subscribers at end-2005, while its strongest competitor, Optus, had 496,000 broadband customers.
Owned by SingTel, Optus is currently in the process of rolling out its own broadband ULL network in efforts to encourage the migration of customers from dial-up to DSL and reduce its reliance on Telstra.