Optus to Offer FetchTV on 2m Mobile Devices

FetchTV wants every Australian broadband service, wireline and wireless, to offer its IPTV service — except for Telstra, of course, which has its own pay-TV service. FetchTV has signed up the cellco/telco/cableco Optus, which will be the first to offer live FetchTV on mobile phones and tablet devices. Optus expects to have 500,000 subscribers by the end of 2012.

Optus did not say whether it would also offer FetchTV STBs to its wireline broadband subscribers. In December it signed a deal with FetchTV rival Foxtel to offer Optus subscribers Foxtel’s iQ HD STBs and Foxtel’s HD channels. The deal also allows Optus to resell Foxtel’s satellite TV services as an agent.

Foxtel is a 50/50 joint venture between Telstra and News Corp.

Optus, which Singapore-based Singtel owns, said the FetchTVservice will be available to all of its two million subscribers when FetchTV launches.

FetchTV CEO Scott Lorson said the Optus deal was “a seminal moment in terms of building our distribution capability.” If FetchTV gets all the service providers other than Telstra, the service will be available to almost half of Australia’s 4.2 million wireline broadband customers.

Lorson told ComputerWorld Australia,

“I think the fact that we’ve been able to nab the number two, number three and number five [Internet service] providers in the country bodes very well for the rest of the others.”

Until now FetchTV’s mobility strategy was much like what the pay-TV services in the States did initially: it allowed users to view TV guides and film information, remotely control the box and purchase or rent content — but no streaming IPTV on the mobile device.

FetchTV has deals with Internode, iiNet (the first to deploy FetchTV boxes) and Adam Internet and is reportedly negotiating with TPG and Primus, according to The Australian. The paper lists the following competitors to FetchTV:

– The incumbent telco Telstra with 110,000 to 150,000 of its T-boxes installed. It has channels for exclusive sports programming, such as AFL, rugby league, motor racing and horseracing.

– Foxtel offers versions of its pay-TV service on Telstra’s T-box and Microsoft’s XBox 360.

– Smart-TV adapters and gaming consoles such as Apple TV, Hybrid Television’s TiVo and Sony’s PlayStation

FetchTV Australia is not connected with FetchTV UK in any way. They each use different technology and have a different business model. Malaysia-based Astro All Asia Network owns 40% of FetchTV.

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