RealTime IT News

TV Network Makes Broadband Move

Australian television network Seven has cemented its broadband intentions by taking a stake in digital broadband services provider Access1.

Under the deal, Seven's television station C7 will deliver all of its programming via the Access1 network, including three channels of Sydney 2000 Olympic Games coverage.

C7 will also deliver channels on areas such as investment, training and seminars, youth and music, movies and special events.

This broad scope of services comes on the heels of Seven's joint venture with Granada Group, which has given the television network access to film studio MGM's content library.

These new services will complement Seven's content offerings that will be available through i7, such as online radio through a relationship with Internet radio site DigitalOne, chat and advice sites, and online buying opportunities through sites like Ticketmaster, with which i7 announced a partnership last September (see story).

The Access1 service will be launched in April, and users will need a rooftop satellite dish and decoder box for their PC to access it.

Access1 uses satellite-based IP telephony to deliver broadband services, including pay television and high speed Internet access.

C7 and satellite business Australia Television are in the process of joining Seven's Internet business i7. The move is key to Seven's strategy to develop broadband content and deliver it across a range of platforms to users in Australia and South East Asia.

"This alliance marks the start of a number of broadband content arrangements that will form key driver's to i7's strategy," said i7 managing director Andrew Cohen. "We are looking to provide a variety of options to users, including pay television, enhanced television, high speed Internet and conventional online service."

Although C7's Olympics content will be available from PC, the network will continue to broadcast the coverage via its Optus and Austar pay television stations.

C7's stake in Access1 totals five million shares and two million options exercisable at AUS$0.75 (US$0.45) each. i7 will gain two million more options, also exercisable at AUS$0.75 (US$0.45) each, when Access1 subscriber numbers reach 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 target marks.