An Australian communications company is planning to offer a video-on-demand library to broadband service providers, as informitv reports from Sydney.

Flowcom has announced that it plans to acquire ReelTime Infotainment from Movies Online to offer Australian consumers access to a video-on-demand library over internet protocol television or IPTV.

Flowcom, a communications company that previously went into administration, is to re-list on the Australian Stock Exchange, having recently raised AU$3 million. The company will pay AU$250,000 to secure RealTime Infotainment from Movies Online Limited, with a further AU$350,000 payable on completion. Following the acquisition Flowcom will change its name to ReelTime Media Ltd.

Movies Online has been developing a video-on-demand system and negotiating with studios since 2000.

“We are delighted to be able to bring ReelTime Media, Australia’s first national IPTV operator, to the market,” said John Karantzis, the managing director of ReelTime Infotainment. “The opportunity presented is significant, as it allows ReelTime to address what is a rapidly growing Australian market with scale.”

The ReelTime service will provide a wholesale offering to broadband service providers, with the benefit of an integrated platform and pre-established deals with programming providers.

The company aims to offer a competitive alternative to local video store and postal DVD libraries.

Telstra, the leading Australian telecommunications company, faces a number of issues in delivering such services, not least their involvement with Foxtel, the pay-television provider.

As a result, ReelTime has been able to secure agreements with Telstra Wholesale to provide video server co-location and access to the national broadband network.

This is not limited to distributing movies to personal computers but will be able to deliver to televisions through broadband connected digital video recorders.

New releases will be available instantly, with other library titles available within a few hours through a download service.

Reeltime has IPTV distribution agreements in Australia and New Zealand for first-run features from leading studios, including Columbia, TriStar, Sony Classics, MGM and United Artists, and recently signed a deal with Granada International, which distributes a number of leading UK television drama series.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is understood to have been a substantial shareholder in Movies Online. The video-on-demand service will be launched with broadband service provider partners in the first quarter of 2006.

Australia is one of the fastest growing broadband markets in the world, with growth in subscriptions of over 100% in the last year.

Broadband access speeds in Australia are currently limited, but the availability of ADSL2+ will open the way to IPTV internet protocol television and video-on-demand services.

Realtime has a deal with Adam Internet, based in Adelaide, which is currently rolling out ADSL2+ to local exchanges, and is in negotiations with other service providers.