This month, Telstra marks its tenth-year as an online movie and music distributor, celebrating a decade of innovation in bringing IP delivered content to Australian homes.

It was the early days of broadband when in late January 2004, Telstra launched the fetchmemovies service that offered home delivery of DVDs selected online.

Soon after, fetchmemovies became BigPond Movies, an online destination where customers could also browse and stream videos and movie trailers for the first time.

By the end of the year, more than 2 million DVDs were dispatched via Australia Post to a user base of just over 18,000 customers.

It wouldn’t be long before Australians got their first taste of online streaming, initially via the BigPond Movies website in 2006, and later via the Telstra T-Box, which in 2011 brought IPTV to thousands of lounge rooms around the country.

Today, several hundred thousand titles are rented and streamed via BigPond Movies each month, from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to popular TV drama such as The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad.

”fetchmemoviesTelstra Director Pay TV and IPTV Eric Kearley said we could expect IPTV to accelerate even faster in the next 10 years, as more people switch to IP platforms to consume their favourite content.

“It isn’t necessarily so that consumers make a conscious choice to use IPTV as their preferred distribution method, but on-demand content served anywhere on any device at any time – which is where the industry is heading – means IPTV will continue to grow as other delivery methods are not as mobile and flexible,” Kearley said

“It seems crazy to think we once delivered movies via ‘snail mail’ but fetchmemovies was at a time when broadband in Australia was very much in its formative stages.”

Kearley said the widespread adoption of high speed broadband and the coming NBN has changed the game, as content is streamed direct to our living rooms with devices such as the T-Box and smart TVs.

“We’re already seeing exponential growth and this will only accelerate with the advent of low-cost, high volume subscription video-on-demand services where you pay a low monthly fee for the content you want,” Kearley said.

“There’ll be more and more choice for customers in what is already a competitive market.”

“But consumers will also get more help to make their choices, through increased curation via social (media) recommendation, and tracking of preferred content and behaviour.

“Human curation – effective scheduling of content on on-demand platforms as currently happens on linear, traditional TV channels – will also increase.

“How much content you can offer your consumer will be less important as long as you have the right content for each consumer.”

Kearley said Telstra’s IPTV story was constantly evolving as the company continued to look for new ways to bring its customers a brilliant connected future.

“We’re proud of our achievements over the past decade in making IPTV options a reality for Australian viewers, but it’s the future we’re most excited about.

“We’ve been pushing the boundaries for 10 years and we’ll continue to do that as we move into this new age.”

January 2014 also marks a decade since Telstra entered online music distribution. In January 2004, Telstra was the first ISP in Australia to offer an easy to use music download site – BigPond Music (BPM) – that allowed customers to access and legally use a wide range of music online.

Since then, BPM has expanded to an IP music channel on the T-Box, one of the platform’s most popular channels. Telstra remains at the forefront of the mobile music industry with its MOG music streaming service, and will bring the exciting Beats Music service to Australian listeners later this year following its launch in the US this month.

Did you know?

It cost $19.95 for one month’s subscription to fetchmemovies in 2004. You could select one movie at a time online and Telstra delivered it via Australia Post to your door. You could keep the movie for as long as you like but couldn’t rent another until you returned it.