EXCLUSIVE: Telstra CEO Talks AFL, Content & The Future For BigPond TV

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The CEO of Telstra David Thodey has said that content is “extremely import” to the carrier’s overall business plans and that he is looking to expand local content on the Telstra BigPond TV Network. His comments came after he last week committed the carrier to spending over $150 Million on the rights to AFL Football.

The CEO of Telstra David Thodey has said that content is “extremely import” to the carrier’s overall business plans and that he is looking to expand local content on the Telstra BigPond TV Network. His comments came after he last week committed the carrier to spending over $150 Million on the rights to AFL Football.

Thodey, also said that he is “open to contents partnerships” including a partnership with the likes of Netflix the US content Company who is looking to expand their operations globally. He also admitted that he is looking to sign up additional “local content” deals.

During an interview earlier today with SmartHouse Thodey said “we like local content because it allows us to push traffic across our data pipes and I am confident that we will get a return on our ALF investment because we are able to deliver this content to multiple devices both in the home and to portable devices and via Foxtel”.

He said Telstra was quite open to partnering with both hardware and software Companies in the future to expand the delivery of their content offering.

Currently Telstra is partnering with both Samsung and LG in nonexclusive hardware relationships, however this could be expanded to include multiple hardware manufacturers who incorporate Telstra’s BigPond TV software into their hardware says Thodey.
 
“We already have the relationships with Hollywood both directly and via Foxtel and we are open to partner with other providers to deliver content which we don’t have to own. We simply want to be the carrier who can package the content and deliver it to a customer”.

“One of the great things that we believe in is local content and this is where we will be investing in the future. This is the big differentiator between what a Netflix can deliver and what we can deliver locally.

 

In a hint that Telstra could be making further significant investments, in local sporting content Thodey said “What we want to augment is the delivery of cricket, NRL and other sports. We believe this is important”.

Asked whether he believed that consumer were now more experienced in accessing IP delivered content when they wanted it, Vs free to air TV, Thodey said “I believe that consumers now want content on multiple devices from the tablet to the mobile phone to the T Hub to the T Box to the Foxtel iQ2. However the next big step for us is making the delivery simple and easy to access because what we are seeing customers really struggle with is multiple devices in the home”.

“Some customers have Foxtel cable and free to air TV, others have media centres and then there are the portable devices. What we have to do is make it easy to deliver the content to multiple screens in the home from one source”.

When asked whether consumers wanted less hardware in the home and that software delivery to display devices was the future Thodey said “Yes I agree”.
“Consumers don’t want a lot of hardware devices in the home; I know that in my own home we have multiple devices that take up a lot of space and heat up. This is not what I want and neither do our customers”.

Thodey said that display devices were important especially as there is now software and buffering systems that allow content to be delivered to a screen without the need for additional hardware.

“We need to grow our content software offering in partnership with hardware vendors. It’s all about seamless integration and making it easy for consumers and we have to work closely with our partners to make this happen”.

 

 In 2012 Telstra is expected to offer new content subscriptions to its BigPond TV Network including access to both Foxtel and Telstra BigPond TV content a move which Thodey is confident consumers will subscribe to.

Mat Baxter, chief executive of media buying agency UM described the Telstra AFL deal to the Australian newspaper, as “the silver bullet” that would finally deliver to Telstra the long-held promise of viable mobile content. “Telstra, I think in the past, has struggled to transform itself into a media and entertainment business because they did not have the content,” Mr Baxter said. “So I think this is the silver bullet.”

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