Two of Australia's biggest content suppliers - Beyond International and the Seven Network - have thrown their weight behind a new high-speed network that plans to pump entertainment and services into Australian homes.
Operated by fledgling Australian company Evolution Technologies, the venture plans to concentrate on providing services to high-density housing such as tower blocks.
The initial agreement sees Beyond provide 35 hours a week of branded science, technology, information and documentary programming while Seven's on-line subsidiary i7 will supply its C7 sports channels, including three devoted to the Olympic Games. Beyond expects to provide movies and drama series further down the line.
C7 has acquired a 12.5% share in Evolution Technologies as part of its deal but founder Hart Mailandt remains the major shareholder.
Beyond recently stated that it expects 20% of its sales to be completed directly over the Internet within 12 to 18 months. Given that Beyond's revenue from film and TV sales amounted to about A$20m in the 12 months to June 1999, this represents about A$8m worth of business.
Beyond's beyond.com.au corporate website is being expanded into a full business-to-business e-commerce site that will allow customers to access, view and licence content on-line within six months. There are about 6,000 hours of television programming and more than 150 features worldwide in Beyond's catalogue.