RealTime IT News

Access1 Blasts Closer TV Broadband

Australian Stock Exchange-listed broadband services provider Access1 has signed a heads of Agreement with ISP and convergent technology developer the Blast Group, to broadcast sports and entertainment content over the Access1 platform to Blast's portal.

Under the deal, the Blast Group will develop a settop box to allow broadband users to receive Access1's services through a television. The boxes will also include a digital TV decoder product, enabling consumers with older analogue televisions to access new digital television content.

This extension of broadband services to television is a leap beyond Access1's current predominant reach through PCs, enabling more viewers to receive the broadband provider's satellite-delivered broadcasts and services such as the digital download of content.

Under the agreement the Blast Group will also occupy five channels on Access1's network, that can be received on either televisions or on PCs. One of these channels will be an interactive sports channel the Blast Group will develop, after building affiliations with various sporting organisations.

Blast will assume all costs related to developing this sports channel, and has already given Access1 a $100,000 prepayment for establishment costs and bandwidth.

While giving Access1 the chance to reach TV viewers with its multimedia content, the deal with Blast also opens up potential revenue sources for the services provider. If all five channels to be occupied by Blast are used, it could generate revenues of up to $1.2 million each year, as well as earn Access1 shares in subscription and e-commerce revenue, according to the company.

For Blast, meanwhile, the agreement enables it to deliver content for both PC and television platforms, after receiving international funding to develop opportunities for Internet content in the Australian market.

While this deal gives Access1 the new opportunity to reach consumers through television, it is not the first content deal the provider has struck to bolster its service. In January Access1 joined with Virgin Records (EMI) and production company Virtueoz to deliver a live concert broadcast that was performed at Sydneys Metro Theatre.

The audio visual content was encoded live into an IP format and broadcast over Access1s satellite network to a PC in music stores in Perth and Adelaide, as the first in a series of such broadcasts. Last September, too, Access1 broadcast two of the Channel 7 television network's Olympics coverage to PCs. This content deal has also come to include content of Channel 7 Sport's coverage of Australian soccer, basketball, AFL football, cricket and other sport.

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