Telstra has bought a 51% stake in content aggregation company Fetch TV for $50 million.
Telstra TV will continue as a product in market but services will be progressively migrated to the Fetch TV platform, which currently has about 800,000 active subscribers. Fetch TV currently has approximately 670,000 active subscribers.
Telstra says Fetch will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity.
Fetch TV CEO Scott Lorson said, “This investment from Telstra will allow Fetch TV to accelerate growth and deliver a genuinely competitive Australian home and entertainment solution. Fetch has a hard-earned reputation for localisation, innovation and partnership, and today’s announcement will ensure a bright future for our subscribers, content partners, our emerging advertising partners and, importantly, for our telco and retail distribution partners.”
Telstra Group Executive of Product and Technology, Kim Krogh Andersen said, “Telstra TV has been successful and popular in Australian homes as it provides a simple way to discover and watch content from streaming services and free-to-air, and is a key platform for Foxtel streaming services, Kayo, Binge and Flash.
“While the current Telstra TV product remains popular, the underlying technology platform needs to evolve to support a deeper level of engagement through content offers, account management and rewards through Telstra Plus. It also needs to support future entertainment options and be delivered via the hardware options customers want including Smart TVs.
“After a strategic review of our options, we have selected Fetch TV for its ability to deliver this functionality at scale for our customers, given Fetch’s software development capability, innovative roadmap and strong track record delivering capability for other Australian telco partners.”
Fetch differs from streaming services such as Stan, Netflix or Disney+ in that it does not fund its own original content, but rather aggregates content and apps in a one-stop shop to help consumers navigate simply between free-to-air television and paid content. The three models of its box – the Mini, Mini 4K and the Mighty – can be bought for $169, $189 or $499 but are sometimes included as an add-on to internet packages with Optus, Aussie Broadband and Vocus’ iPrimus.
“Becoming a trusted partner in the home remains an important growth opportunity for Telstra. As homes become more digitally connected, the integration of that technology – including the Smart Modem, smart meter and a platform for streaming media which can also be used for AR, VR and the metaverse – will become even more critical. While they all do different things, if they can work together seamlessly, it will help enable customers to get the most out of their connectivity. That’s why Telstra is investing in an ‘open’ technology platform and for us to have access to an onshore team who can deliver on a relevant product roadmap for Telstra and telcos,” Kim Krogh Andersen said.
There are no current plans to put Kayo Sports and Binge onto the Fetch TV platform but there is speculation this could be resolved before the switchover from Telstra TV.
The deal is subject to ACCC approval.