RealTime IT News

Telstra and ABC Content Deal Off

[Sydney, Australia, June 9, 2000]: Telecommunications carrier Telstra has ended negotiations with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for the broadcaster to deliver online content to Telstra's Internet services.

The announcement puts to an end eight months of negotiations between the ABC and Telstra, for the telco to gain non-exclusive access to ABC content to distribute through its services over a range of platforms.

The termination also comes just three days before the parties were due to sign the deal. The ABC had requested changes to the agreement, which Telstra claimed "undermined the commercial viability of delivering ABC content over Telstra's platforms."

As the companies could not agree on terms with these changes, they terminated negotiations on the content deal.

The deal was to consist of more than 'reversioned' content; the ABC and Telstra were also planning to co-produce special materials for use on both of their online services.

There was also scope for sharing datacasting experience

The content deal was to be worth AUS$67.5 million (US$39.15 million) over five years.

The proposed deal was criticized by industry members including the shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, who argued for an inquiry into the agreement by the national Standing Committee on Information Technology. ABC managing director Brian Johns at the time responded to such criticisms by saying that although there were some exclusive elements to the content provision, the largely non-exclusive terms of the deal would not threaten the integrity of the ABC, a Federal Government-owned broadcasting service.

Although Telstra said in a statement that it was "disappointed that negotiations have failed, as it believes the original agreement represented a viable deal for Telstra and would have created a strong partnership," the telco will concentrate on negotiating other content deals, details of which are yet to be announced.