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RealTime IT News

Austar Makes Interactive Move

Media company Austar and electronic retailer TVSN have struck an alliance which is designed to place both companies at the forefront of interactive television and e-commerce in Australia.

Austar has taken a 50 per cent stake in TVSN, in the form of AUS$20 million (US$12 million) of notes convertible into TVSN ordinary shares. The deal remains subject to the agreement of TVSN shareholders, which is expected to be approved by the end of July.

Under the deal, broadband services provider chello will enable access for TVSN's retailing service and Austar will carry the TVSN home shopping channel as part of its pay television service for a minimum of 10 years.

By the end of this year, Austar's 400,000 Australian subscribers will be able to buy products from TVSN across a range of 30 channels from Discovery, to the Lifestyle Channel, music Channel V and sports channels.

The interactive TV system will be set up on a channel by channel basis, and fashion, jewelry, skincare, homewares and collectables are among TVSN's products to be advertised on the channels.

Austar chief executive officer John Porter said the e-commerce opportunities involved in the deal were enormous. "Austar has direct relationships with customers. What it lacks is expertise in retailing. Others fail on fulfilling customer orders, being in stock and customer service," he said.