Telstra Battles For AFL, Set To Be Major Player

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The fight for sporting rights continues as content battle gathers pace.

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And Telstra will be hoping they are among the big winners as its BigPond TV services continues to gather momentum.

And will the $11bn windfall from the NBN fibre buyout deal, it will have plenty of cash to play with.

The telco is said to be looking to extend its AFL live online coverage and is aggressively pursing the 2012-16 AFL rights, which would allow it to stream games live online and across its T-Boxes.

And David Thodey’s outfit is said to be willing to put its money where its mouth is, which could push negotiations for the lucrative sporting rights above the $1bn mark, for the first time.

Under the current deal, it can broadcasts games but only on a 12-hour delay, meaning the new deal will give it exclusivity rights, pushing it in with the heavyweights of sports coverage.

So where can we watch the footie next year? Free-to- air wise, Seven is tipped to clinch the free-to-air rights for a $450m pricetag, fending off rivals networks Ten and Seven, The Australian reports.

However, Pay TV Foxtel, is likely to pay in the region of $500m for exclusive rights to five games a round and the other four matches broadcast on free-to-air rivals.

And its not just its T-Boxes Telstra wants to kit out with the latest content
– its Blu ray players, set top boxes, flat panel TVs and home theatre
receivers, a move that will allow it to rapidly expand their Big Pond
content services in Australia. And lets not forget its content hungry
smartphone and tab subscribers.

Just recently it announced it will launch a new AFL Game Analyser service later this year, while only last week it launched the service for LG 3D smart TV’s and has also paired up with Samsung’s TV sets providing exclusive BigPond content service.

And BigPond has bigger plans for Australia, with its head of operations, Ben Kinealy, hinting it could morph into a Netflix US style operation, basically a one stop subscription service for movies, music and other TV content.

However, it may partner up with the US streming company rather than go it alone.

Read Telstra Look To Mimic Netflix Subscription Service here

Telstra may also be looking to add Foxtel content to its T-Box service, although nothing has been finalised yet, it is now said it may happen in June.

And according to reports this morning, the telco is looking to finalise
content agreements with Foxtel, before the proposed $2bn buyout of
Austar, the regional Pay TV player, goes ahead.

 

As for the Austar takeover, it is currently being thrashed out among Foxtel shareholders News Ltd, Consolidated Media Holdings and Telstra, who owns 50 per cent of the Pay TV giant. And it seems Credit Suisse has now joined the talks alongside the telco.

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