U.S streaming platform provider Roku is entering the Australian market in a partnership with Telstra. The deal, which is similar to relationships the streaming services provider has struck with international media companies, is termed the ‘Roku Powered licensing program’. Under the strategic agreement Telstra will leverage the Roku streaming platform to deliver its new streaming service and player, branded Telstra TV, to consumers.
The Telstra TV streaming service will launch locally will bundled offerings that include the BigPond movie service together with rival services Presto, Stan, Netflix and a range ofcatch up TV channels. The full complement of apps and Telstra TV functionality is set to be announced on September 10.
“Strong interest among consumers for on-demand entertainment and increasing availability of OTT content is driving operators to launch Internet-delivered television services,” said Roku VP of PayTV Andrew Ferrone.
Telstra is the fourth operator after Sky UK, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to join the Roku Powered licensing program.
“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,” said Telstra GMD of Media and Marketing, Joe Pollard.
The entry of the Roku platform is set to shake up the competitive field and agitate pricing and package offerings. While Telstra is a key stakeholder in Foxtel it is understood that Telstra TV will not stream Foxtel at launch. According to executive, Telstra sees Telstra TV “as a complement to Foxtel.”
“We will obviously work with Foxtel in the future if there are any plans or they want to see Telstra TV as a device to distribute content. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t consider something. But at the moment we’re focused on the video streaming services,” Pollard said.
A featured attraction of Roku is that is has a fully customisable interface which allows users to switch apps around on their home screen, prioritise and delete services.
“Rather than restrict our customers’ choices, we want to host all the popular streaming video services on our platforms and make it easy for them to get all the content they want in the one place,” Pollard said.
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