Everybody’s very concerned about Telstra’s unfair practices when it
comes to internet pricing for its competitors, but here’s another
unfair advantage it has: currently it’s offering 50 free DVD rentals
from its bigpond movies service to everybody who signs up for one of
its broadband access plans.

This
not only undercuts the other ISPs with an offer they could never match,
it’s also making life tremendously difficult for the little Australian
companies trying to make a go of it in the online DVD rental market
too, like: www.dvdjam.com.au , www.meteor.com.au (recently went bust), www.webflicks.com.au , www.quickflix.com.au (trying to get a float up at the moment but competing against Telstra makes it very tough), and www.homescreen.com.au
(word is, the new half owners of Hoyts, WA News, will be leaving it
with the Packer family company CPH, again because of Telstra).

All
the small Australian online DVD rental companies are incurring a big
loss trying to get people to try online DVD rental with most of them
offering a two-week free trial. There’s no way any of them could afford
to give away 50 free DVD rentals to acquire a new customer.

This is not why I became a Telstra shareholder and it’s not what I’m paying my taxes for!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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