A week before its partner conference in Brisbane networking manufacturer Avaya wasn't sounding the good news for the channel after it scored a mostly-direct $60 million contract with News Corp.
Under the terms of the agreement signed this week in the US, Avaya will standardise Murdoch's stable of media and entertainment companies across a single ubiquitous network, according to Kal Savi, global account manager, News Corp, at Avaya.
Savvi, who was responsible for negotiating the deal, told ARN the two-year (US$30 million) contract is the first time News Corp has made a long-term commitment to the networking vendor, despite having a prior relationship with Avaya through its parent company Lucent for over 10 years.
News Corp is allegedly looking to reduce the cost of running disparate networks by converging its infrastructure across one network based on Avaya's asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology. The plan is to route News Corp's holdings, which include 20th Century Fox Films, the Fox Broadcasting Company, 23 owned-and-operated television stations, cable channels, newspapers, magazines and other media through five principle hubs of Los Angeles, New York, London, Sydney and Hong Kong.
It is unknown at this stage how much of the lucrative contract will be supplied through the channel. However, Savi claims the use of channel partners will be determined by the region with Sydney being rolled out directly by Avaya, whereas Hong Kong will be fulfilled through Avaya's partner network.
While Savi claims the channel wasn't excluded from the contract in Australia, the decision to go direct was based on Avaya's history as a direct supplier of News Corp and its subsidiaries. Furthermore, he asserts that as Avaya looks to add additional applications to the News Corp network it will sub contract to partners for fulfillment and installation.
One such opportunity, divulged Savi, is a proposed contact centre to handle all of News Corp's call centre requirements.