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.

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