Different directions down under: Quickflix cutting staff; Telstra bulking up

IPTV is going in different directions for different Australian providers. IPTV and online DVD rental player Quickflix said it would slash one third of its workforce amid a series of restructuring moves that included the resignation of its chief executive. Almost simultaneously, telco Telstra said it would expand its IPTV content deals to include more sports and premium programming and bolster its TV Everywhere deals with Foxtel.

First the bad news--at least from an employee perspective. Quickflix said Chief Executive Chris Taylor, who joined the company in July 2011, has resigned and will step down in March 2013, being replaced by founder and Executive Chairman Stephen Langsford. The company then announced what is being described as "an extensive series of further changes as part of the company's ongoing restructuring plans [that] would reduce its headcount by one third, resulting in a saving of $2 million a year."

The company said the changes are intended to cut the costs associated with deploying an IPTV platform while optimizing the DVD rental business.

Quickflix issued a statement that it is still "fundamentally sound" and the "only online DVD rental provider in Australia and New Zealand offering 'all you can view' monthly subscription to movies and TV to a wide range of popular consumer devices including smart TVs, game consoles, computers and mobile devices."

On the brighter side of the coin, Telstra is gung-ho to improve its relationship with a new generation of smart TVs and to expand its content in the sports and premium areas.

Reportedly, Telstra is ready to announce a $75 million TV Everywhere-like agreement with the National Rugby League, Cricket Austral and V8 Supercars as a way to expand its Foxtel IPTV offerings. Telstra, which owns half of Foxtel, already has a content relationship where Foxtel material is available on smartphones and tablets.

"We've settled on a broad strategy which is to provide premium international, premium local and sport content to any screen anywhere at the same time," Telstra media boss Rick Ellis said in a story reported in The Australian and covered by Smarthouse. "We have done a lot of work framing what the content proposition is going to look like in linear channels, in transaction video on demand and subscription video on demand. We'll be announcing a number of those in the first half of next year."

For more:
- Delimiter has this story about Quickflix
- Smarthouse has this story on Telstra

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