Some questions answered about the new Sky/TVNZ partnership

Sky and TVNZ announced yesterday that they were partnering up to deliver a new budget pay tv service, entrenching TVNZ’s desire to move towards subscription based revenue and driving the wedge deeper into their position with Freeview despite them saying otherwise.

Freeview wouldn’t comment on the announcement other than to say they currently have compatible products agreements with TCL, TiVo and Sony PlayTV but not this new venture so they aren’t licensed to use Freeview’s trademarks.

We also posed some questions to Eric Kearley, TVNZ’s head of digital services who will also sit on the new venture’s board.

Throng: Firstly, with the announcement today that TVNZ and Sky are launching a new Pay TV offering, does this secure the future of TVNZ7 and or TVNZU?

EK: The venture does not change the status of TVNZ7 or TVNZU in any way. The venture will launch a new platform, there is no effect on the content or plans for any individual TVNZ channels that we can currently predict.

Throng: What implications do you see with TVNZ being a stakeholder in Freeview?  

EK: TVNZ is committed to supporting Freeview and FTA television, which will remain at the core of TVNZ. Freeview has been very successful in getting New Zealanders to convert to digital television in preparation for for Digital Switch Over, and will continue to be so. This venture provides consumers with more choice to convert to digital as we approach DSO.

TVNZ is committed to supporting the governments timetable to achieving DSO through multiple initiatives including support for Freeview, participation in the Digital Switch Over group, “Going Digital” communication initiatives, and now the participation and support for this joint venture.

Throng: What will TiVo’s involvement be with this new service, if any?

EK: None.

While TVNZ can, on the surface, state that they support Freeview, surely there are conflicts of interest.  I can’t imagine that the other seats at the Freeview table will be happy knowing that any commercially sensitive information will be readily available to a competitor.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out…

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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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  • noizer

    I dont see it as a problem at all. Perhaps maybe -unless pay tv can generate the content to dominate the ratings, in which case it would be decided by the market anyway, and TVNZ would switch to pay, which it looks like they are moving to here…. depending on the price, if the quality improves, consumer still wins.

    How can ‘pay’ ever compete with ‘free’ otherwise ? its like saying I’m worried Pump/bottled water will take over the tap in the house 🙂

    Free will always be around in some form, even if its just for the local news and some kids shows

  • David Finch

    Oh great…. “Free will always be around in some form, even if its just for the local news and some kid shows”. And you think that’s okay?  Wake up. And spare a thought for the 50% of the population who cannot afford pay TV.  Their access to a broad range of programming, previously on free to air, is being removed by stealth.  And some of us do not wish to pay Murdoch and cohorts for the quality of service which could and should be the duty ofa properly funded public broadcaster. 

    Your Pump analogy is maybe more telling than you realise. Why agree to pay multinationals for what we already have ready access to?