Sports War: Optus V Telstra TV Battle Kicks Off

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Sworn rivals Telstra and Optus face off in court today over the TVNow app that has sent the sporting world into a tizzy.

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The “landmark” smartphone app which Telstra, the NRL and AFL are looking to ban from screens, allows Optus customers to record and watch TV from their iPhone or any other 3G smartphone, and could cost the parties millions in lost revenue.

Optus has taken the legal action against the two sporting bodies in a bid to prevent them from taking further legal action against the service announced in July, as both the AFL and NRL look to save its lucrative sporting broadcasting sale rights.

Both the football and rugby bodies previously threatened to sue Optus for copyright breaches.

Telstra and sporting organisations are locked in million-dollar content deals, which the telco broadcasts exclusively live to its mobile customers.

Optus’ service offers the ability to watch games on mobiles from free-to-air but without having paid for the (mobile) broadcast rights.

Telstra CEO David Thodey previously declared the (almost) live mobile broadcast service would ”throw everything up in the air” if allowed to go ahead.

The legal test case, described as a possible ‘game changer’ which many parties will watch eagerly, could have implications for similar cloud based IPTV services and could put a spanner in the works for both AFL and NRL content deals with Telstra, who coughed up over $150m for earlier this year for just the AFL rights alone.

 

The case Singtel Optus Pty Ltd & Another v National Rugby League Investments Pty Ltd & Others is being heard by Justice Rares.

Trial kicks off at 10.15 am in Sydney’s Federal Court.

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