Sydney/Singapore: ANYTIME inaugurated its Video-on-Demand service in Australia on March 29 in an alliance with publisher Fairfax Media's Fairfax Digital. That will be followed by launches in Singapore, Korea and Taiwan later this year, according to ANYTIME President/CEO Craig Zimbulis.
Branded ANYTIME on VOLT, the service in Australia initially offers more than 300 movies sourced from Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., and indies Icon and Becker, priced at A$5.95 for a new release and A$3.50 for a catalogue title. Movie files will be downloaded to the users' PC for a 7-day period, after which the file will be automatically erased.
Fairfax Digital CEO Jack Matthews said the agreement with ANYTIME marks a "significant step in Fairfax Digital broadening its information offering and becoming, among other things, a leading online entertainment network." Fairfax Digital operates around 30 interactive sites which attract more than 8 million visitors each month.
Asked whether deals with only three US majors would be sufficient to entice subscribers, Zimbulis said a deal with another major supplier was imminent and he is negotiating with a total of 74 content providers. He intends to widen the service by offering episodes of classic television series within two months, which may be on a subscription VoD basis.
ANYTIME also announced an exclusive promotional partnership with iiNet, Australia's third largest ISP, enabling iiNet customers on its ADSL2+ network to enjoy un-metered downloads. Australia's relatively slow broadband speeds mean it will take some subscribers up to 90 minutes to download a 90-minute movie, while those with fast connections can get almost instantaneous downloads. In any event, subscribers can start watching movies a couple of two minutes after the download starts. Asked about VOLT's prospects, Zimbulis said, "We're not very bullish in the short-term, but we think the market will grow over the next two or three years, driven by Internet traffic, iiNet and our partner (and shareholder) Intel."