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Telstra 1 Million IPTV Play

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 13/05/2013

Telstra looks at IPTV domination as it seeks to lure mobile customers over to Internet TV services.

Rick Ellis, Group Managing Director of Telstra Media, is setting an ambitious target of 1 million Internet TV (IPTV)  devices sold by 2016, he told  Australian Media

Telstra plans to introduce more content 'bundles' of T-Box and Foxtel content, Big Pond Movies and other TV services, which he says is "a first" for Australia.  

Telstra's set-top box known as T-Box currently gives subscribers access to free-to-air TV channels delivered via the Internet. As he revealed to Australian Media, half a million T-Boxes have been sold since 2010, meaning it aims to effectively double its user numbers. 

"Up until now we have basically bundled a T-Box just as a personal video recorder device that gives you access to IP (internet protocol) content and acts as a digital terrestrial PVR (personal video recorder) for free-to-air TV and basic account access to transaction video on demand which is BigPond movies," Ellis said.

"But what we are doing now is...bundling up subscription linear (scheduled programming) channels, and further down the track we will be bundling subscription video-on-demand as well as movies and TV services." 

The largest telco in Australia is gearing up to drive more value from its millions of mobile and fixed-line customers, which could mean even more bundling of phone, Internet and TV services in the future; something which analysts have predicted for some time. 

Recently, Telstra launched "entertainer bundles" with 11 Foxtel channels (on T-Box), BigPond broadband, unlimited calls on home phone, at an attractive price. 

Telstra's new IPTV push will be aimed at "pay-light" users: those that do not want to be locked in to long term contracts - something which it recently kicked off in its mobile services offering no commitment contracts. 

Ellis, a former Chief Executive Officer of TVNZ,  is eyeing major growth in the Media business ahead of the rollout of the NBN which will mean all homes will have access to cheap, high speed Internet, making Internet TV the norm in future. 

Telstra have pushed hard into its new Digital Media business in the last year, and have made Foxtel content available on more of its Telstra T-Box services, as traditional revenue streams from fixed line and Sensis business slides. 

Telstra owns 50% of the Pay TV giant. 

Foxtel, too, has upped the IPTV ante in a big way, allowing users to view Foxtel channels on iPhones, tablets and other devices, as it seeks to fend off competition from Internet TV services like Quickflix, Fetchtv. 

Last week, Seven Network revealed it is working on plans to deliver an ad-free subscription TV service via the Internet, hybrid broadcast broadband television, which broadcasts digital TV content from a number of sources including traditional TV, Internet and connected devices at home.

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