Optus auditions potential partners for IPTV

Rose Major | 06-12-2010

Australia telco Optus is reportedly overseeing a pitching process for companies hoping to provide IPTV services to its customers.

Foxtel, which already provides a pay-TV service for Optus cable customers, is one of the front runners for the contract, but newcomers including FetchTV and Hybrid TV, licensee of the TiVo unit in Australia, are also vying for a deal, according to The Australian newspaper.

Other companies reportedly in the running are Nine Entertainment Company and Hulu, although talks with such companies are likely to centre over specific services rather than packages.

FetchTV already provides IPTV services to other telcos iiNet, Internode and Adam Internet, so implementing its offering could be the quickest route to market for Optus. And winning a contract from Optus would give the fledgling operator a boost and position the company as a serious potential competitor for Foxtel.

Hybrid TV could be an expensive option, with TiVo boxes currently retailing for A$499. And while the company offers much on-demand content, has no pay-TV channel deals.

Foxtel’s pay-TV package for major shareholder Nine Entertainment Company and Hulu, T-box is likely to be unveiled early next year and is likely to be a scaled-down pay-TV offering. T-box users can already access on-demand fare, branded with Telstra’s internet brand Bigpond.

Should Foxtel also win a contract for Optus’ IPTV offering, the company would extend its dominance in the sector yet further. There are no major competitors for Foxtel, which allows it to charge high prices to customers, one of the reasons penetration has not risen above 30%.