Telecom unveils Premier League viewing deal

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 16:15 04/07/2013
Fairfax NZ

PremierLeaguePass.com teams up with Telecom.

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Telecom has negotiated a 15 per cent discount for its broadband customers to watch English Premier League games online, the company has announced.

New customers on "mid-range" broadband plans will be able to watch a season of football, normally costing $150, for free, and existing customers can also go into a draw for 1000 free passes.

The promotion, struck through a deal with English Premier League rights holder Coliseum, is less generous than some forecasts.

One analyst had speculated Telecom might offer viewing free to all customers on more pricey broadband plans.

However, Telecom has also sweetened the deal by upgrading its 50 gigabytes broadband plans to 80Gb plans at no extra cost.

COMPETITION PROBLEMS

Xero boss Rod Drury fears for the future of small internet providers now Telecom has stepped into the sports content market.

Drury said the partnership between Telecom and Coliseum might encourage the take-up of ultrafast broadband, but the bundling of content and broadband came at a risk to competition.

"That vertical integration has just moved up a series in the stack, that is the issue. Now the market swings back to the 'big boys'. How do the small internet providers play now? That's the risk," he said.

Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said his concern would be "if we ended up in a world of 'walled gardens' where in order to get the football I have to be with Telecom, and to watch the rugby I have to be with Vodafone".

The Premier League pact will put Telecom, which has about half of the retail broadband market, in closer competition to Sky Television, whose pay-television service is in about half of homes.

Sky TV shares edged down 2 cents to $5.38 during lunchtime trading, reversing early morning gains achieved in a gently rising market.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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