TPG joins the fray as TV broadcasters face next wave of ad dollar taxation

By Nicola Riches | 24 September 2014

Cut price internet provider TPG has joined the incoming horde planning to deliver IPTV to Australian audiences in what promises to be a packed schedule of launches in 2015.

The company revealed yesterday that it has signed a partnership deal with an undisclosed content provider in a bid to broaden its offering and win over customers from rival telcos.

Consumer business general manager Craig Levy told local media that the company had built a ‘solid’ infrastructure to deliver to IPTV, but until now lacked the content to make it a compelling package for its customers.

TPG acquired tech firm AAPT for $450m this financial year, significantly boosting its fibre optic cabling between buildings and cities and laying the essential groundwork for an IPTV launch early in 2015.

Foxtel has already made clear its plans for an aggressive move into the IPTV space with the oncoming launch of the internet-enabled iQ3 set-top box and the recent slashing of its entry-point subscription to $25 to increase household penetration to 40%. Back in March the Murdoch-Telstra owned provider also launched Presto streaming service whereby punters can stream films from its eight movie channels both live and on demand – and ad break-free – via a monthly pass costing $19.99.

Meanwhile, Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media have each ploughed a reported $50m into a joint venture to deliver StreamCo, a video on demand service with a fixed monthly subscription fee. StreamCo CEO Mike Sneesby has recently given interviews in the press suggesting that the company is plans an early 2015 launch.

The broadcaster’s scramble is partially attributed to rumours that Netflix will launch in Australia next year, although debate rages around its capability to secure local TV rights, and whether it would be worth the effort given it already has an audience of around 250,000 households paying US prices by getting around geoblocks.

AdNews yesterday reported that government is considering recommendations for Australians to be educated in methods to circumvent geoblocking. The suggestions come as part of a wider report which is looking into local tech/IT content pricing and competition.

TPG yesterday reported a 15 per cent increase in net profits to $172 million during its financial year, ending July 2014. Revenues over the same period rose by 34 per cent to $970 million. The company was this morning unavailable for comment.

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