TalkTalk Offering Netflix12 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Telecom joins Virgin Media and British Telecommunications (BT) offering direct access to subscription streaming pioneer
In another marketing coup for Netflix, Britain’s upstart telecom TalkTalk Group Jan. 12 began offering subscribers direct access to the SVOD pioneer.
TalkTalk, which recently acquired transactional VOD platform blinkbox from supermarket chain Tesco, is offering access via YouView TV set-top boxes. It hopes to make the SVOD accessible to all 1.2 million subscribers by the end of January.
The Netflix agreement is the latest in a number of significant developments for TalkTalk. Over the past 12 months, the telecom completed the YouView shareholders agreement for a further five years, extended its partnership with Sky for wholesale premium content and added Sky entertainment channels into its Plus TV package.
Last October, British Telecommunications (BT) began bundling Netflix, along with other services — also via YouView boxes. Netflix in 2013 inked the first U.K. access agreement with Virgin Media, and Con Hem in Sweden.
As with other Netflix deals, a separate subscription to the Los Gatos, Calif.-based service is required. The TalkTalk agreement enables its subs to link more easily to the SVOD service instead via an alternative broadband connection.
“As Britain’s fastest-growing TV service, we are on a mission to provide the best movies and hit TV shows that our customers can dip in and out of, all at a great price. Netflix complements this perfectly,” Tristia Harrison, managing director at TalkTalk, said in a statement.
Once considered Kryptonite to multichannel video program distributors, the SVOD service is now increasingly being embraced by cablers as a means of differentiating themselves from the competition.
Last May’s Suddenlink deal — the seventh largest cabler in the U.S., operating in North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana — mirrored pacts between Netflix and Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN — the first in the United States for the SVOD pioneer.
Heretofore, Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable have shunned linking directly to Netflix, while Verizon is exploring the option. The reasoning being that the SVOD will encourage cord-cutting the traditional bundled pay-TV package.
Then last month, Dish Network became the first major domestic multichannel video program distributor to incorporate Netflix in its set-top devices.
Bill Holmes, global head of business development, Netflix, thinks direct-access relationships can be symbiotic.
“By partnering with TalkTalk we’re making it even easier for many TV fans and movie lovers in Britain to watch Netflix on their television screens,” Holmes said in a statement.