The TiVo saga developed a new twist overnight with rumours suggesting that Optus. who have recently held discussions with Fetch TV about the possibility of delivering their IPTV service in Australia, has emerged as a potential licensee of the Casper On Demand movie and music service in Australia which is currently delivered with a TiVo PVR.The move if successful will allow Optus to take on Telstra’s BigPond Movie Service and their T Box offering.
It also allows Optus to deliver broadband to homes bundled with a content service, while also offering TV manufacturers who are struggling to find content for their new Internet enabled TVs a software EPG service content service complete with broadband.
ChannelNews has been told that Optus has already rejected the Fetch TV service and are now looking to other services in an effort to compete with Telstra who yesterday delivered 30 Foxtel Channels to T Box customers.
What is not known at this stage is how much Telstra will charge consumers for the 30 new Foxtel Channels.
Currently Internode, Primus and iiNet is offering Casper On Demand services via a deal with Hybrid the licensee of the TiVo PVR. Last month Hybrid which is partially owned by the Seven Network sacked 40 staff after only managing to sell an estimated 70,000 TiVo units in Australia since 2007.
In comparison Telstra has delivered 120,000 new customers for their T Box service which now delivers all free to air TV stations in Australia, 1,600 movies and 30 Foxtel Channels.
A former Hybrid executive told ChannelNews last night that the company noticed a “significant” slowdown in demand for TiVo PVRs when Telstra launched their T Box offering in Australia.
The executive who was one of several senior personel hired by Hybrid said: “There was never any period when the operation looked as if it would make a profit. It simply got harder and harder to get sales and the introduction of the T Box service made us realise that we would struggle to compete”.
Optus was not available to comment, however we will update this story when a comment becomes available.