Sky gets TVNZ 6&7 but Freeview won't be getting Prime

While TVNZ and Sky have announced a new partnership that will see HD broadcasts of TV One and TV2 on MySkyHDi from June 1st and TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 being made available to pay TV subscribers from July 1st, Sky is not reciprocating with its free to air channel Prime on Freeview.

Sky Television’s Tony O’Brien told Throng that it made no economic sense for Prime to be on Freeview at the current point in time as the costs outweighed any benefits from ad revenue.  Sky aren’t convinced that the Freeview audience would justify those costs and, of course, noted that Prime is available already on Sky and free to air on UHF (analog).

What are your thoughts on this decision?

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • openmedia

    Sad.. Very sad..

  • Prime on Freeview would be dandy… boo for Sky not reciprocating just a little.

  • Very disappointing

  • Kerry

    What a joke!  Prime on Freeview would have been great, and if it was going to happen, now was the time…  That’s a real shame.

  • I haven’t watched Prime at all since I got Freeview. I don’t even know what screens on it nowadays.

    If it is too expensive for Sky to put Prime on freeview, simply turn off the encryption on Prime on satellite, and tell freeview they can add it as a channel. Problem solved, at no extra cost.

  • Aaron White

    Oh come on! I am a freeview installer and EVERY customer is disapointed that they cant get prime on the service. This is total bull about not being commercialy viable. If Prime was on Freeview there would be a whole lot more people wanting Freeview. This is just another chapter in the saga of Sky trying to kill off the competition and grab all the money through rental, even for the FREE state owned stations. In fact why dont the government just sell freeview etc. to Sky….

  • Paulw

    Here we go again. Another lot of tax payer funded TV channels TVNZ 6&7 going to prop up Sky’s revenue stream but Sky’s not willing to give anything back..

  • Richard.

    About time they got around to getting tvnz 6 and 7 into most houses.

    Was so stupid to have a taxpayer funded channel only available to those that went out and got a second sat receiver or had a freeview hd box.

  • Tom Ackroyd

    Prime is free-to-air but not available for free in its native 16:9 format, unlike other FTAs. Would SKY care to comment on this anomaly?

    This is the only thing stopping me from going to Freeview.

  • bogeyman

    A complete list of the best programs on Freeview:




  • Garry

    TVNZ – what a pathetic bunch. No business sense. Don’t know how to negotiate in the business world. Of course HD Freeview is a lemon to anyone wanting to join this platform. Thinking of all the transmitters up and down the country and the cost of this transmission method. Frankly with one transmitter from a satellite source has to be cheaper. OK they want a backup for a possible failing satellite. All ones eggs in one basket. Do what SKY has done. OPTUS C1 is their temporary backup and soon it will be D3 with heaps of expansion capability!! I wouldn’t be surprised if Prime goes on Freeview Satellite service first. SKY could easily un-encrypt its present Prime TV signal and all those with non certified sets would be able to receive it. Its obvious the Freeview HD service is too costly because it has less TV Channels join it compared the Freeview Sat service. Also its a joke that on the HD service, the majority of channels are SD Standard Definition. My final bits of advice to TVNZ. Ditch or drastically speed up MHEG5 or it will be your downfall. Also leave your HD feeds to Sky unencrypted. . . think about it!

  • jhjh2000

    TVNZ – good  business sense for TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 being made available to sky

  • openmedia

    How is this good business sense? At the moment TVNZ6+7 have no adverts, so generate no revenue.

  • SW

    Since switching to Freeview we don’t watch Prime at all, but would if it was available on the platform. Sky is missing both viewers and advertising revenue – crazy.

  • jhjh2000

    having  TVNZ6+7 on sky it opening  TVNZ6+7 to more viewers

    re Prime on Freeview yes it sad

  • bandit

    If you want Prime for free you can get it via  sky. I rang sky and said I want to get Prime. So they supplied and  installed a dish, supplied a box and tuned it in for $140.00. I then bought freeview box for $40.00 trademe.

    So i have Prime and freeview crystal clear.


    I pay no subscriptions at all

    Not bad

  • regan

    Wouldn’t it have been better to have just paid $40 and gotten Prime as well?

  • Rogue

    Ummm Whats happening with the Olympics? Wont Sky be forced to make Prime available on Freeview once analog gets the cut? Or am I missing something…?

  • George R

    Well that’s an excellent question Rogue!! Prime has the rights to the next winter Olympics (Next Year) and the Summer Olympics in 2012.

    So what does happen to the Olympics if Prime is not screened via Freeview as opposed to SKY??

    Sky are just being w**kers and this excuse that it does not make economic sense is utter crap.

    What doesn’t make sense is that the public of New Zealand should be held to ransom and forced to subscribe to a platform like Sky, and line the pockets of the overseas owners of SKY (AKA News Corp), just so that we can see the Olympics on digital TV via Prime.

    I know that Prime is still available through UHF, but lets be honest, there signal is crap in many places (Including mine!!)

    And when we get rid of Analogue TV altogether, what then for when we want to watch Prime?….oh that’s right “It’s available on SKY for a price!”

    The Government is going to have to play hard ball with Sky if it’s gonna start pulling this kind of crap, buying up rights to significant broadcasts (Olympics, Commonwealth games etc) and then putting it on Prime, and expecting everyone to pay a Sky subscription to get it.

  • PurpleTentacle

    I know. Shame on them for trying to make money.


  • hdfan

    It gets worse, for people outside the main Freeview broadcast areas.

    They now have to PAY a SKY subscription if the wish to see Tv1 and Tv2 in any form of HD.

    No Free HDTV service for them!

    Taxpayer funded TVNZ HD need to be FTA on satellite not encrypted by SKY. Allowing full free access to anyone who wants to buy the equipment to receive it.

    TVNZ in HD is now a pay service when previously their contract to be on SKY has ensured Tv1 and Tv2 were Free to air not encrypted allowing access by anyone.

  • nanisnap

    It’ll be good to get some more eye watching these channels. Good decision, TVNZ.

  • Nil Einne

    Garry – while I’d largely agree with you that TVNZ made a very stupid mistake (although I’m also quite sure it’s no coincidence that this suddenly happened when was have a new government who then after the fact tried to ‘convince’ Prime to join Freeview but of course were just laughed at), it seems to me quite obvious that you have little idea what you’re talking about. TVNZ doesn’t choose whether to encrypt their feeds Sky does. Of course TVNZ could dictate to Sky not to encrypt their feeds, which they did before Freeview and I hope they did now but it’s ultimately Sky that makes the decision. Also the cost of launching or buying capacity in a satellite is a lot. The cost of running Freeview terrestial is a lot cheaper then satellite and you can add capacity fairly easily (and particularly after the analog shut down there is bucket loads of it). All you have to do is look at the UK (who used the inefficient MPEG2 compression with their terrestial service) and see how many channels they have despite already being chuck full with analog channels as well. Furthermore, since out Freeview satellite uses MPEG2 and terrestial uses MPEG4 AVC there’s an even bigger difference.

  • Nil Einne

    Sadly this decision while incredibly bad all around doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s quite clear the current government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about enriching foreign companies with taxpayer money, while not even get anything in return; nor about making sure we have a viable free to air platform so aren’t monopolised by a single company who is then free to screw everyone and have made it clear they wanted this done so it was. Or maybe it’s just that Coleman or someone was pissed off at not being able to see TVNZ6 and 7 on Sky.

    It’s even more sad when you read the comments here

    I just hope this isn’t really the beginning of the end for Freeview as it seems it could be.

    P.S. I forgot to mention in my earliuer post to Garry about how it’s easy and so already quite common and likely to be the case with mostly all future TVs to implement a native DVB-t receiver i.e. Freeview terrestrial receiver, another advantage. TVs with built in DVB-s or DVB-s2 receivers are rare worldwide AFAIK.