Telecom: "watch this space" for content play

Telecom is pursuing content opportunities to exploit its broadband network, company officials revealed at a briefing yesterday.

Telecom is pursuing content opportunities to exploit its broadband network, company officials revealed at a briefing yesterday.

In response to questions about a presentation slide that listed convergence initiatives such as Telecom's packaging offer with Sky TV and told reporters to "watch this space" with regard to other content, Telecom spokesman Glen Sowry confirmed that discussions with content providers have been going on this year.

Sowry said Telecom was not interested in "becoming a TV producer" and that its expertise would continue to be in delivering content, which could include a TV channel.

"Envisage the things that are possible in the broadband space – that's what we're looking at."

Sowry said TV programming from Telecom's abortive First Media cable TV project had been delivered to participants in the company's initial ADSL trial in Wellington, but the idea had not been pursued because the triallists indicated they were more interested in fast Internet than in a TV service.

Telecom channel manager Phil Turnbull said that the opportunity to deliver video via DSL – which has defeated early players in Europe – was still there. He said the content being envisaged was "mainly consumer" in nature.

But it is not likely to be limited to video or TV. Telecom's ISP, Xtra, has had dealings this year with mp3.net.nz, which sells digital downloads of New Zealand music. It is also thought to have discussed opportunities with the local branches of major record companies, who are all facing the need for a digital distribution infrastructure in the next couple of years.

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