Is this why Murdoch bailed out of Sky?

skytv_logoThe 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.

Last week it was reported that there are possibly 30,000 subscribers in New Zealand to the US streaming service Netflix.  While many are happy to pay money to access scripted content from foreign streaming services, there is a belief that the only option for viewing sport is through Sky.  The reality is that just like Netflix, much of the sport content New Zealanders love to watch is also available via reputable and legitimate sources and the method to gain access is identical.

This poses a real threat to Sky and all they seem to be doing is attempting to appeal to people’s morals because at this point, the general consensus seems to be that it isn’t illegal.

We gave Sky multiple opportunities to address questions about this and the implications this has on their business but in every instance they declined to comment.  This leaves us wondering why they might be reluctant to take a public position on this.  Is it simply that there is nothing they can do about it?

On Sky’s fighting piracy page, there is a lot of talk about prosecuting businesses who use domestic subscriptions for commercial purposes.  There is no mention of using streaming services and Sky refused to discuss this with us.  The reality is, there appears to be nothing stopping a bar, for example, choosing to stream every readily available NRL, Super Rugby or All Blacks game by parallel importing that content.

30,000 Netflix subscribers may not be of great concern to Sky but you can be certain that 30,000 fewer sport subscribers would be.

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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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  • roger

    lots of ways to stream it online for free

  • Rob B

    What are some higher quality streaming providers? I’ve found the odd few streams but none in HD (not just FWC, but others too)

    • roger

      Who cares about HD. I can’t even tell the difference lol

      • Rob B

        Maybe get your eyes tested then.

  • It’s “Fighting Piracy”, not “Fighting Privacy” Regan

    Sky won’t have a foot to stand on if someone uses an alternative streaming service to gain access to sport. For starters, those companies are based overseas and have rights over the content in their region. And illegal services generally pick up another country’s stream, again, Sky has no feet to stand on because their property is not being pirated – someone elses is.

    Sky could very easily maintain their monopoly by introducing online only subscriptions for Sky GO but the quality of the service currently is absolutely diabolical. Illegal streams are more reliable. It’s not a service that I would pay anything for at this point

  • Tania

    “Sport is possibly the most compelling reason why anyone would become a Sky subscriber …” well, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for the stale selection of movies or 8+ years old episodes of ‘Escape to the Country’ on the Living channel. Even the CI channel seems to be replaying the same old content over and over – I’m pretty sure they should have enough material from recent events to make new stuff.

  • toby_toby

    I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that Sky has a monopoly on the FIFA World Cup. TVNZ is showing a bunch of games live as well.

  • Daniel

    I suppose the reason Sky has a monopoly on sport is because it’s the biggest bidder and it has the biggest facilities.
    I would like to see an Australian outfit enter the market and provide some competition. I don’t like how you have to have a ‘package’ before you can get the sports channels. I would rather pay for the sport channels only rather than the other crap.