Telstra’s big bet on sports streaming

Telstra is banking on its sports offerings to drive its streaming strategy, with the company announcing last week it had passed the millionth subscriber to its AFL streaming service, says Telstra’s Michele Garra.

Garra, the company’s executive director of media, told Mumbrella how the telco is looking at growing subscriber numbers as part of its push into streaming content aimed at commuters and sports fans. “We’re starting to get some scale with the new strategy,” she said.

Michele Garra, Telstra’s executive director of media

Coupled with the AFL numbers, which are up 72% year on year, Telstra’s NRL subscriber figures have increased 35%, giving the company more than 1.5 million subscribers across the two codes.

“We’re now at more than 50% higher than our internal business targets for Live Pass apps this year,” said Garra who will be speaking at the Mumbrella Entertainment Marketing Summit in November.

The sports push is part of Telstra’s broader strategy that sees the company focusing on streaming services aimed at commuters and workers on breaks, as much as sports fans who can’t get to a TV to watch their games.

“We’ve found more than 67% of Australians are now streaming content. Not just sport, but general content. More than 50% of people are planning their day around when they watch the content they love,” she said.

Garra puts the company’s streaming growth down to the network investments made in recently years and currently 38% of Telstra’s data traffic is streaming and is growing at 40% year on year. However, Telstra Media’s contribution to the company’s bottom line remains small, with the division contributing just $974 million of the last year’s $27bn revenue.

A bigger challenge to Telstra in the streaming market are the major US services although Garra sees them more as allies than competitors, telling Mumbrella:  “Partners like Netflix, Foxtel Now, Amazon and Youtube are crucial in Telstra’s strategy to become the home of mobile entertainment in Australia.

“We offer Australia’s best Universal Search on Telstra TV and the Telstra TV mobile app, which includes a click through to the provider, enabling our customer’s easy access to the very best entertainment content available”.

Looking towards the future Garra, sees esports as a growing area for subscribers but points out more traditional sports such as racing remains popular while entertainment and cultural content will remain the big content drivers.

“With the streaming revolution well underway, Aussies are more invested in entertainment than ever before,” Garra concluded.

Hear from Michele Garra, executive director of media and Jeremy Nicholas, executive director of marketing in December at the Mumbrella Entertainment Marketing Summit, where they will discuss how Telstra is repositioning itself in the minds of consumers.


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