Sir Dick In Aussie TV Comeback?
SYDNEY – After some years out of the Down Under market – apart from a minority interest in Virgin Australia, now controlled by Air NZ, Etihad and Singapore Airlines – the benighted Sir Richard Branson may be considering a return.
His UK-based Virgin Group is investigating partnerships with some of Australia’s major TV networks to launch a subscription video-on-demand (STOD) service delivered via broadband, according to a Financial Review report.
Virgin is said to be spruiking a business plan to corner the “SVOD” market in seven potential countries – apparently including Australia – where the USA’s Netflix does not yet have a presence.
Virgin currently has an on-demand service available in the UK, offering catch up TV from local networks including BBC iPlayer, iTV Player, On Demand TV box sets, Movies, Netflix, Music and Live Events like boxing, sports via ‘Supercharged’ Fibre optic broadband.
However a Virgin-branded service could be just one of a number of outfits jockeying to launch new services Down Under.
Foxtel is planning to launch its own SVOD service Presto, initially with film content but with plans to add TV content down the line.
And the Nine and Seven groups are believed to be exploring their own plans for SVOD services. This will be a reality for the free-to-airs once Hbb broadcast comes into play later this year.