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Telstra passes half a million T-Box subs

Australia’s dominant telco Telstra hopes to get its ‘T-Box’ IPTV device into more than a million homes by 2016, and is planning to forge new partnerships with the country’s free-to-air TV networks to help drive take-up, according to local reports.

Rick Ellis, managing director of Telstra’s media portfolio, told national newspaper The Australian that the telco just passed the milestone of 500,000 subscribers for its T-Box service, which launched in 2010 and combines free-to-air and subscription programming with PVR features and video-on-demand.

Ellis and his team are now reportedly looking to create a “constellation of partnerships” with Australian broadcasters in order to deliver new content such as sport, as well as with US studios such as HBO, producer of hit TV show Game of Thrones.

Telstra is also believed to be considering working more closely with pay-TV operator Foxtel, in which it holds a 50% stake, and which already has around 30 channels available on the T-Box service.

“As far as content goes we are looking to Foxtel to effectively secure the rights to the content that we want to bundle up and take to market,” Ellis is quoted as saying. “First with the T-Box and second into the multi-screen environment – as opposed to going out there and doing it ourselves,” Mr Ellis said.

The current analysis from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) is that Foxtel will remain the dominant pay-TV force in Australia in the short-to medium-term but will thereafter become somewhat vulnerable to low-cost alternatives.

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