Seven CEO admits company is in talks over video streaming play

Tim Worner

Tim Worner

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner has admitted the company is in talks to enter the subscription video on demand (SVOD) market, but played down speculation the network would do a joint venture with pay-TV operator Foxtel.

Worner made the statement during today’s investor call for its full year financial results in response to a question about the announcement this morning of joint Nine/Fairfax venture with streaming service StreamCo, and a report in today’s Australian Financial Review which said the network had signed a heads of agreement with Foxtel over a potential deal.

“This is a space we need to be in,” said Worner in response to a question about the speculation and how many players the market can sustain.  “SVOD as a space – it is an area Seven West need to be in and we have had a cavalcade of people come to us and talk to us about SVOD.”

However, Worner poured cold water on several recent news stories speculating on who the TV network would choose to partner with, singling out one report yesterday which said Nine executives had been seconded to the offices of Seven to work on an SVOD deal.

“I’ve seen a lot of that written in the papers, apparently at one point we had a team from Channel Nine working in our building – I don’t know what sort of camouflage they were wearing but it must have been very effective,” he said.

“Apparently we are talking to Foxtel, to Al Jazeera, to the BBC. We are, apparently, not very picky.”

The Seven West boss told the audience that the network was in discussions with partners but would not be drawn on the specifics.

“I think that this is a space that we should be in,” he said. “We are the biggest producer of Australian content and if you look at the sort of content that we make a lot of it lends itself to exploitation on demand and we are seeing that one Plus7 and Yahoo!7.

“I’ve said this is an area we need to be in. We are having discussions and those discussions have accelerated and we are hoping to have an announcement soon, but we are not ready to make the announcement yet.”

Today Yahoo!7 announced it had hired the ABC’s iView pioneer Arul Baskaran as head of product.

Worner also flagged next week’s major play in the hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) space with the launch of Freeview Plus, a catch up IPTV service/program guide for all the Free-To-Air networks, which he described as a potential “game changer”, adding “FreeTV will begin its major launch campaign of the service across all free to air operators in the coming week and highlighting the many benefits to consumers.”

Nic Christensen 

(Declaration of interest: Yahoo!7 is currently advertising on this website.) 


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