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Roku Partners With Aussie Telecom for OTT Video

28 Jul, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Telstra TV

Streaming media device manufacturer Roku July 28 announced a technology partnership with Australian telecom Telstra for a new over-the-top video service to bow down under.

The Telstra TV streaming service will launch later this year and bundle its own “BigPond” movie service. Going forward, Telstra TV would likely include subscription streaming services such as Presto, Stan, Netflix and various catch-up TV channels. Telstra is the fourth operator after Sky UK, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to join the “Roku Powered” tech licensing program.

Telstra TV will incorporate a branded Roku media device and remote.

Netflix’s arrival in March in Australia (and New Zealand) coupled with renewed competition from local services, has resulted in 2 million (1.5 million paid) subscription streaming customers down under since the end of June, according to data from technology analyst firm Telsyte.

In addition to the aforementioned services, Aussie SVOD includes Stan — a joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media featuring major U.S. studios’ movies and TV shows, including Amazon Prime Instant Video’s Golden Globe-winning original series “Transparent,” and by-mail disc/streaming hybrid Quickflix.

The four services account for about 90% of all paid subs — the remainder taken up by sports and special interest programming. The average SVOD customer uses two streaming services.

With 70% of Telstra’s $12.6 billion second half-year (2104) revenue coming from mobile and fixed telecom subscribers, less than 4% ($465 million) came from media. OTT video could change that.

“Strong interest among consumers for on-demand entertainment and increasing availability of OTT content is driving operators to launch Internet-delivered television services,” Andrew Ferrone, VP of Pay TV at Roku, said in a statement.

Indeed, Roku in 2008 helped Netflix launch its ground-breaking streaming business with a short-lived branded “Netflix” streaming media device. Roku has also branded streaming devices for Sky’s Now TV, among others.

Last year, Roku bowed a line of branded Chinese-manufactured smart televisions.

“Licensing the Roku streaming platform enables us to launch a streaming service and player without the magnitude of cloud services, software and tools otherwise needed to become an OTT operator,” Joe Pollard, group managing director media and marketing at Telstra, said in a statement.

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