Sky TV

Copyright versus Parallel Importing

Why would Sky or TVNZ be in control of where you are allowed to go on the Internet?  If you want to pay to access a streaming service in another country to get content that TVNZ (say) have local broadcasting rights to, why should you be stopped?

And if there is a company that helps you do this a little easier, are they assisting your parallel import or assisting you to breaching copyright?

Four New Zealand media companies recently joined forces to flex their collective muscles against Call Plus-owned media companies Orcon, Slingshot and Bypass Network services.

The ”Big Four” claim the companies are breaching copyright and operating outside the law by providing customers access to otherwise blocked international TV and movie services.

The companies have threatened legal action by way of ”cease and desist” letters sent to the alleged copyright infringers, who at this stage appear to be standing firm on the legality of their unblocking services. Read more »

You can watch Sky TV…. slide into obscurity

Is Sky TV unable or unwilling to rise to the challenges before it?

As everyone in the real world is abundantly aware, television and the way we consume it, is changing. There is an enormous shift to online and those that fail to embrace it will be destined to the history books.

This week, Sky announced a 12.7 percent increase in net profit of $92.5 million in the six months to December 31. Revenue from subscribers was up 3% with overall revenue up 1.8%.

But that’s about where the good news ends. The NBR’s Chris Keall has astutely described Sky’s revenue as “golden handcuffs”.

8,707 subscribers ditched the pay tv service resulting in a household penetration dip from 48.7% of the population to 48.3%. Churn rose from 13.2% to 13.7%.

While admitting that the industry is in transition to online, Sky CEO John Fellet seems entirely naive about how to do so. Having helmed the company through many years as a dominant monopolistic force, Fellet seems ill-equiped to steer the company through the obstacle course created by disruptive technologies. Read more »

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What are Sky not telling their shareholders?

fdghj

Sky Network Television Limited looks like a pretty solid investment.  They seem to have an unassailable position in the market.  Where else do you go for your live NRL, IPL, various World Cups and All Blacks?

Throng reports

The FIFA World Cup began this morning and like practically every other sporting event, Sky has the monopoly on it. Sport is possibly the most compelling reason why anyone would become a Sky subscriber and while a lot of content can be sourced from elsewhere, it is sport that gifts Sky its dominant position. That is, up until now. Read more »

Sky Basic going up. Again. Angry? Maybe you can help

ARE YOU ANGRY ABOUT SKY INCREASING THEIR SUBSCRIPTION FEES AGAIN?

The basic package price is about to increase again for Sky Subscribers. The New Zealand Herald has asked me to find a Sky subscriber who isn’t happy about this and would like to make a comment for tomorrow’s paper. If you’d like to let your feelings be known, please contact me ASAP.

Living wage includes allowance for Sky TV

Beauty and Style blogger David Farrar stumbles into a political story, exposing the base assumptions that make up the “Living Wage” claim.

Brian Scott has published a critique of the so called Living Wage, and it should be compulsory reading for any politician that has treated the calculations done by Rev Waldegrave as a fit basis for public policy decisions. It is quite legitimate to have a view that wages should be higher, but to insist that the correct level is that calculated by Rev Waldegrave is a surrender to symbolism over substance.

The key findings by Scott are:

  1. Only 12% of low income households are two adults and two dependents, which the Waldegrave calculation is based on
  2. They assume you need 10 hours of childcare a week, even if the children are aged over 14
  3. They calculation of level of “basic necessities” is not based on any empirical measurement of the lowest cost of necessities, but merely a proportion of the average expenditure in deciles 1 to 5 (this one is key – it is a calculation based on the Browns should be spending as much as the Jones, and is not a caculation on how much income the Browns need)
  4. The calculation doesn’t account for some sources of household income such as trade-ins, sales, teenagers income (yet does include their costs) and school donation tax refunds
  5. The calculation double counts some expenditure such as childcare costs   Read more »
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Pimping the poor on TVNZ

The Mataitonga watching TV

The Mataitonga family  watching TV

Last night TVNZ ran a Labour party fed story about power prices.

Tens of thousands of Kiwis on pre-pay electricity plans are being charged up to 60% more than those on ordinary plans, figures obtained by ONE News reveal.

Really…obtained by ONE News…more like obtained by Labour and given to ONE News…here is Labour’s press release (timed at 14:12)

Power companies are unfairly targeting the poorest New Zealanders by charging them the highest electricity rates, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says.

New figures obtained by Labour show those on pre-pay electricity plans – paying electricity bills in advance – pay up to 60 per cent more than those paying a regular power bill.

Amazing coincidence that TVNZ seems to have obtained the same figures and miraculously run a story that played some 4 hours after Labour issued a press release.

The figures have prompted calls for greater regulation of power prices.

“It’s grossly unfair that these people, the poorest people in our society who have no choices, should be stung by our power companies in the search for more profit,” says Labour’s energy spokesperson David Shearer.  Read more »

Shameless political opportunism

So once again – Labour rides over the top of an independent entity in an attempt to score cheap political points.

I don’t know the rights and wrongs of the Sky TV case, but the fact Labour appear so willing to criticise, intervene and comment on the actions/rulings of independent bodies should serve as a warning to anyone expecting due process and protection of their legal rights under any far left Government.

Sky TV has got off extremely lightly after the Commerce Commission found its previous contracts may have breached the Commerce Act, said Labour Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi and associate ICT spokesperson Clare Curran.

“Sky TV is a monopoly broadcaster so it is extremely concerning that the Commerce Commission has found it may have entered into contracts that reduced competition,” said Kris Faafoi.  Read more »

The New Pig in Town (plus enter to win)

Regan from Throng has looked at (P)Igloo, the new joint venture from Sky TV and TVNZ and he has found that despite the marketing schlock the facts don’t match the reality.

He is also running a nice little competition for a Samsung Freeview PVR:

On Monday, Sky and TVNZ launched their hardly anticipated new subscription television service.

Here’s our list of reasons why it shouldn’t be under your tree this Christmas or anywhere else in your house for that matter.

 10. It’s probably still broken.  

The custom built platform was supposed to be launched months ago but has been delayed due to “technical problems”.  Is the launch simply exploitation of the spending season or a Christmas miracle?

9. TVNZ are involved.

Remember when TVNZ said “TiVo transforms television“? How are all those customers feeling today?  How long before Igloo too melts down?

8. A comparable Freeview box is less than half the price.

There are a number of basic models of DVB-T receivers which also have the ability to record to a connected USB storage device.

7. Sport is ultra-expensive.

The base “30 day channel pack” plus purchasing every Super XV match The Chiefs play during that period would cost you up to $99.74. On Sky this would cost $72.46 and include more channels, every Super XV game and a lot more sports besides.

6. Paying for content that used to be free.

Two of the eleven Igloo channels feature content that TVNZ used to broadcast for free:  Kidzone24 and TVNZ Heartland.

5. All Igloo content is Standard Definition.

The only content that you’ll be able to view in High Definition is from any of the free-to-air channels that broadcast in HD.  All of the extra content you’re paying for is delivered in standard definition.  This includes movies and sport.

4. High per channel price.

The “Sky Basic” package costs approximately $1.36 per premium channel compared with $2.27 per premium channel on Igloo.

3. Igloo is not a middle option.

Currently, a new 12 month “Sky Basic” package (~63 channels) with 3 months free sport and SoHo and free installation costs $553.44.
A new Igloo box (~34 channels) which you install yourself and a 12 month subscription costs $478.05
A new Freeview box (~29 channels) which you install yourself costs from $99.

2. Two thirds of the channels you can already watch for free.

That’s right.  They’re already free.  And also the most watched.

1. You’re not an Eskimo.

They’re the only ones who should have an igloo.

Those are our top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t get igloo and now we want yours.  We’ve got a brand new Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder (BDE-8500) worth $649 to give away.

In addition, if anyone reposts this on their own blog, we’ll include any comments made there in the draw. Have at it.

Signs From God

Sky TV should not have helped renew Backbenches.

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Paul Brislen scolds the ComCom

NZ Herald

It is excellent to see Paul Brislen, CEO of TUANZ rip into the Commerce Commission for their investigation of Sky TV’s telco relationships – describing it as a waste of time. Brislen notes that Sky TV’s telco relationships – its contracts, according to Brislen were about ensuring it gets the SAME treatment as any potential competitor. As for the rule that says Sky shouldn’t use its market power to deter competition, what kind of bullshit rule is that? Says Brislen:

“Proving that a powerful business has done something that any other business wouldn’t do in its shoes is almost impossible and in this case Sky TV can argue that these kinds of exclusive deals are simply the standard in the broadcasting world.After all, the commission says there’s no lessening in competition evident should Sky and TVNZ create a joint venture, despite one being the largest pay TV operator in the land and the other being the largest free-to-air TV provider. So that’s that.”

If it’s a waste of time, it’s also certainly a waste of money – with the Commerce Commission’s actions destroying around $150 million of Sky TV’s value in one day in mid May. What expensive costs will the ComCom run up to come back and say “err, actually, we didn’t find anything wrong”.

Brislen outlines the problem – a clash between how the law views Telcos and Broadcasters

Unfortunately, we have a heavily regulated telecommunications sector trying to do business with an entirely unregulated broadcasting sector and that’s beginning to chaff.

Set up a new business selling content online and you are treated as part of the telco regime, but call yourself a broadcaster and use a slightly different technology to deliver the exact same content and the world’s your oyster.

We currently have under way the Commerce Commission investigation into Sky TV, the Telco Commissioner’s study of barriers to uptake of the new ultrafast broadband network (UFB), the review of the media laws in New Zealand with a view to not only sorting out those pesky bloggers but also cyber-bullying (a strange pair of bedfellows if ever there was), a newly minted Copyright Act and attendant tribunal that’s yet to see a single complaint filed, a review of said Copyright Act’s fee structure, a Patent Bill that’s waiting to be passed into law that may upset our trading partner the United States because of its declaration that software cannot be patented in New Zealand, and secret trade negotiations that may or may not give away our rights in terms of intellectual property.

He also touches on a issue that this blog has dealt with – stickybeaking by the Commerce Commission into things they aren’t or shouldn’t be considering – policy (which should be the government’s prerogative)

The Commerce Commission can’t lead this work – it’s a regulatory body, not a policy arm, but without this kind of review we’ll continue shining our torch on disparate parts of the beast without realising we’re staring at the elephant in the room.

It’s time for the National Government to step in and assert policy as its role, and to stop the Commerce Commission wading into issues wrecking investments and company value. The question is, who is going to take responsibility for ruining $150 million of Sky TV’s shareholder value?