Sky TV

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

ᔥ 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?

Labour’s double standards – again

ᔥ Stuff.co.nz

Labour has again been caught out in a blatant double standard.

The MPs Pecuniary Interests Register tabled in Parliament yesterday, shows Labour MPs were the recipients of significant hospitality from Sky City – despite their rabid opposition to a new convention centre and over-the-top claims about problem gambling.

Labour MPs accepted more free tickets to RWC games from Sky City than any other Party.

Even David Shearer accepted some tickets, which would make these comments about ‘pokie machines’ blatantly hypocritical.

Labour leader David Shearer received 12 free tickets to various games – two for a pool game came from Sky City. He was a guest of Sky TV at the final and Telecom at the opening ceremony.

This especially interesting because David Shearer subsequently enjoyed a nice fireside dinner at the home of Sky TV lobbyist with the CEO as well. I broke that story and at the time Shearer weaseled out of it, perhaps now in light of his accepting largesse from Sky TV we should re-visit that dinner.

Shearer’s new position appears to be that pokie machines and Sky City are very bad – although me and my mates are happy to accept the freebies they pay for. He also has the position that although he enjoys corporate hospitality and home dinners and fine wine with the corporate lobbyist and CEO that they never speak of business.

 

Another $150m of ComCom wealth destruction

Yesterday, Sky TV reported two actions impacting on them by the Commerce Commission. One, happily, involved the Commerce Commission clearing a deal between Sky TV and TVNZ over their Igloo Pay TV venture, which sees the major commercial TV company in New Zealand do a deal with the state owned TV network.

The other, sadly, involved more unexpected action by the Commerce Commission, with the effect of destroying wealth belonging to NZ KiwiSavers, people with money in funds, and direct investors.

This was in regards to Sky TV entering into deals with Telstra, Vodafone and Telecom over whether this might impact on competition on pay TV. (this after they cleared Sky TV going into partnership with one of its competitors on the grounds it wasn’t a big deal).

SkyTV are partnering with the companies that give it more options with the distribution of its content in anticipation of the big fibre rollout. Unsurprisingly, SkyTV want to ensure they get exclusive rights with the broadband retailers they partner with. This has caused the Commerce Commission to wade in and sniff around.

It’s a nonsense concern, because thanks to the Government rolling out fibre (in concert with Chorus) it will be cheaper than ever before for a new entrant to come to NZ, and offer set top boxes that plug into fibre connections for entertainment. Who needs expensive broadcast equipment anymore? It would be cheap for a new entrant to offer a broadband/fibre based TV package to consumers. (Just don’t mention how the Commerce Commission is going to disincentivise broadband users by artificially forcing down old copper prices!)

Sky TV’s shares were down by over 7% yesterday, or around $150 million in shareholder value lost.

Add to that the $180m of value lost in Chorus after the Commerce Commission unexpectedly proposed dropping copper wire broadband pricing by a large amount (and also involving the subsidising of rural users by town users), and you now have over $330m that got wiped away in the last two weeks – all thanks to the unexpected actions by a Government organisation.

If the National Party professes to respect property rights, then it’s now high time for the government to step in and re-write the Commerce Commission’s frameworks and guidelines, so as Bryan Gaynor so rightly put in the other day, the interests of shareholders and investors in NZ companies are considered in the mix as well.

Sure you didn’t talk TV, yeah we believe you

ᔥ NZ Herald

I broke the story of David Shearer having a nice quiet dinner with Tony O’Brien of Sky TV. It was then followed up by the media. When they asked David Shearer about the dinner he said that they had a social evening and didn’t discuss business.

John Drinnan has followed that up and found out that there was another guest at the dinner at the home of dirty lobbyist Tony O’Brien…Sky TV CEO John Fellet.

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet was also present at a private dinner party attended by Opposition leader David Shearer at the home of Sky lobbyist Tony O’Brien, the pay-TV company has confirmed.

The dinner, first reported in theBusiness Herald on Friday, took place on April 27 and was also attended by the wives of the three men.

Private dinner parties with lobbyists are not restricted, but the timing was unusual. Sky TV’s ultimate owner News Corporation was under attack in the UK for allegedly using excessive leverage on politicians.

In this country, private meetings between business interests and politicians are under intense scrutiny amid controversy over Kim Dotcom’s donations to John Banks’ mayoral campaign and debate about Government involvement in the SkyCity convention centre deal.

Shearer is supporting a private members bill calling for more scrutiny of lobbyists.

Acknowledging he and his wife attended the dinner, Shearer did not discuss whether Fellet was present. He insisted there was no discussion of Labour’s broadcasting policy.

Are we really to believe that broadcasting was never discussed at all, despite the head of Sky TV being present and their lobbyist…I mean what on earth could the dinner have been about?

Perhaps David Shearer shared witty stories about how he once fed millions on just a few mango skins chucked off the back of a truck.

You know there is more to this when you get the Cold Mold:

Shearer’s chief press secretary Francesca Mold said the Opposition leader’s office “will not be answering any further questions from you on this issue”.

Good point you raise David

David Shearer said on Breakfast this morning:

“There is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying but together with this entire saga it raises real questions about the transparency of what was really going on behind the scenes.”

It is a good point he raises, perhaps he would like to explain what he and Tony O’Brien of Sky TV discussed over wine and dinner over the weekend.

I mean, since we are all concerned about transparency….would you like to explain?