Adelaide-based managed hosting provider, Hostworks, has not only won back the business of its largest customer, ninemsn, for a third term, but also extended the agreement.
Hostworks began hosting the MSN network in Australia in 1997, and renegotiated the agreement again at the end of 1999 after Microsoft merged the network with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) to create ninemsn. The agreement, considered the jewel in Hostwork’s crown for its entire history, was due for renewal at the end of this year, creating speculation in the marketplace about Hostwork’s future if it were to lose its keystone customer.
But after a couple of months of evaluating offers from several competitors, PBL has not only renewed its contract for ninemsn with the Adelaide-based company until 2007 but has also adjusted the contract to suit any number of PBL businesses. This means PBL-owned companies such as Crown, Perisher Blue, Australian Consolidated Press and Hoyts may soon be considering Hostworks for their managed hosting needs under the same terms as those negotiated for ninemsn.
“What PBL has come up with is a master agreement for all companies under their control,” Hostworks managing director, Marty Gauvin, said. “Not only does that give PBL a buying power advantage, but it also improved implementation times for introducing new businesses to our online services.”
While PBL was interested in consolidating its hosting agreements to gain better buying power, Gauvin said the terms “are not drastically different” to those from the existing ninemsn contract.
One of the more notable changes in terms is that Gauvin expects Hostworks to begin providing additional services such as disaster recovery to ninemsn.
Gauvin said he could not gauge just how much new business Hostworks could win as a result of the ‘master agreement’, but was confident there would be a lot of interest due to the ease with which PBL businesses would be able to come on board with the terms already negotiated.
This opportunity would also depend largely on when their agreements with existing hosting providers came up for renewal.
“I certainly don’t expect to be announcing new wins in the next few weeks, but would hope to within the next few months,” Gauvin said.
He was also particularly pleased that Hostworks was able to outbid its closest competitors to assure itself of PBL’s business. “All of the obvious contenders had a go at it and we beat them all,” he said.