The remarkable story of Fetch

Broadcasting, video media, streaming are topics that are always in the headlines of the media. But it is a mixed bag of comments that you hear: ‘Broadcasting is on the way out’ ‘Netflix reaches 2 million users’, ‘Telstra struggles with Big Pond’, ‘Video streaming overtakes mobile usage’…. the list goes on.

We saw the traditional broadcasters belatedly try to enter the new video media market, but this ended up with more losers than winners. We have seen Telstra miss the opportunity to dominate this market with its combined Big Pond, Foxtel and Sensis services, and in general none of the telcos has been successful in competing with the internet-based video media companies.

Now look at Fetch …..

When it arrived as a start-up few would have thought that the company had any chance against the national and international moguls, and it has certainly taken them a long time to get to where they are now, surpassing the 500,000 subscribers mark.

And they have done it the hard way – by herding the Australian telco cats into a collaborative model. Collaboration is one of the easiest words to say but it is one of the most difficult concepts to implement, and that is most certainly the case in the highly competitive telco market.

Yet Fetch has done the impossible and brought Optus and most of the second-tier telcos in behind the Fetch business model. It allows the telcos to offer their customers a first-class video media service, while Fetch does all the hard work in the background. The service is white-labelled so each telco can do its own distinct marketing around the service.

Fetch also retails the service through Harvey Norman and JB HiFi

With collaboration rather than competition in mind, Fetch was also one of the first to include Netflix in its offering, providing a one-stop service to its customers.

Slowly but surely the NBN is being rolled out and this is something that also benefits Fetch, whose services are delivered via broadband. This distribution media supplies a great opportunity to offer an alternative to Australia’s leading pay TV service Foxtel.

During all of the hard work the owner of Fetch, Malaysian-based Astro, stayed right behind Fetch’s CEO, Scott Larsen, the driving force behind the venture. It is thanks to Scott that Fetch is where it is today.

Scott says that it is now time for the company to come out, and it is going to spend $10 million in the next three months to promote its service – of course with the support of its telco and retail partners.

Paul Budde

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