Telstra's latest marketing push is all about the "connected home", but it's essentially to do with ISP differentiation in the NBN age. Telstra announced a group of services and marketing pushes yesterday around the theme of bringing "the connected home to life"; these will include doubling the number of Telstra-Plus trained employees -- those are the folks who handle in-home network, T-Box and console setup for Telstra, as well as trialling in-home gaming services, extending the range of its already sewn up content deals for AFL and movies to tablets, and, naturally, a whole lot of marketing spending. In other words, if you see "connected home" on a billboard somewhere, you'll probably see a Telstra logo next to it.
Telstra spending up big isn't itself news, and normally I wouldn't fuss with marketing pushes, were it not for the reason for the marketing push. Not just that Telstra would like more market share (which clearly it would) but more to do with how Telstra's (and by extension, all other NBN-connected ISPs) going to make itself stand out once the NBN becomes more widespread.
While the NBN may be some time away for many of us, anyone who signs up to a "connected home" package now is signed to Telstra for the duration of that contract -- and, if you're Telstra, presumably beyond that time.
The longer term strategy is one we'll undoubtedly see more of once the NBN becomes more widespread, simply because competing on price will only take a given ISP so far once NBN-type speeds can be assumed. If one ISP is offering bundled content, applications or devices at the same price as an ISP that's simply offering NBN access, and the speeds are the same, which one are you more likely to pick?
That doesn't mean it's all good news for consumers, however; the downside to all of this are more and more online exclusive content deals as this type of thing becomes the desirable hook to entice customers. [Telstra]