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Forget Foxtel: Telstra + Google TV Hook Up

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 10/02/2014

BigPond movies, sports may be coming to a Google TV dongle near you

Australia's biggest telco is in secret talks with the tech giant about unleashing "a proliferation of Google Chromecast dongles," reports The Australian.

The move would "further disrupt" a challenged media sector," and the US$35 TV dongle could signal major trouble for dominant Pay TV provider Foxtel, in particular, who is desperately seeking to boost flagging subscriber numbers in the face of cheaper online services.  

The hook up with Google is interesting given Telstra owns 50% of Foxtel, alongside News Corp. who increased its stake in the Pay TV giant in 2012.

Last week, News Corp reported a rise in earnings for Foxtel on the back of an increase in digital platform subscribers on tablets and IPTV. 

Telstra plans to introduce Google Chromecast dongles into Australia this year under the leadership of Telstra's Media group managing director Rick Ellis, the report states. 

Ellis, Telstra Managing Director of Media, has made no secret of his ambitious plans for the business, seen as an area of huge potential as other traditional revenue streams like fixed line phones, erode.  

Telstra is aiming to get its BigPond movies, music and sports content available on the Google Chromecast dongle, opening up its TV and content services offering to a much wider audience. 

The Google dongle may also be made compatible with Telstra current standalone IPTV service, T-Box, meaning it wouldn't pose as a threat to the device, of which over half a million have been sold, since 2010.

The little dongle that will destroy Pay TV?

Announced last year, Chromecast is the uber-cheap alternative to forking out large sums annually for a Pay TV subscription, costs just $35 in the US, where it is in big demand.  

Like Apple TV, Google's little USB dongle streams content like Google Play Music, Movies & TV, YouTube, Netflix, HBO over the internet, by just hooking into the back of a Smart TV. 

And who better to offer it than Telstra, with its enormous broadband penetration, as well as exclusive media content including NRL, AFL sports rights.

Foxtel has 2.5 million by the end of last year, up 5%, and is in one in three household in OZ, and is planning a major makeover to boost subscribers. 

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