Sky going for slow follower crown

SKY_Hero_Top_RGB_01While New Zealand is regularly referred to as Middle Earth, it appears that Sky Television would prefer it to be Westeros. The porcelain throne, for dumping excessive amounts of capital on “too-late-to-market” technologies down (like TiVo) is currently occupied by House TVNZ but House Sky seem all too eager to topple the incumbent king. With jealousy over the monopoly setting in, House Sky have carted carriages of gold to The Eyrie to tip out of the moon door.

Yes. Sky have announced that they’re launching a streaming video service.

When it comes to being fast followers, Sky are like the last kid in a long distance running race. The officials are packing away chairs and picking up left over rubbish as a couple of proud parents clap and cheer as the fruit of their loins limps towards the tattered ribbon that was broken well before the sun set and all the excited spectators went home.

Failing to embrace the internet has been the demise of many old media companies and with the threat of competition (hallelujah) Sky have panicked and decided that late is better than never. Really though, this is the sign of a company in trouble.

Delusion often disguises itself as optimism. Sky believe that their new SVOD service will break even after three years. With Telecom and Netflix on the way and our friends at Quickflix already well established and growing strongly, it would be a brave investor who backed a traditional media company over the might of the experienced. Sky may have a bunch of content deals in place but there is a real sense of discontent amongst consumers, particularly over price, and given the opportunity to source content elsewhere, I believe they will take it.

In Australia, Foxtel’s Play service starts at $25 per month and goes up as high as $100. Compare this to the $10-15 mark that other providers are charging and the reason to subscribe just isn’t there. If you consider Sky’s pricing for Igloo, they seem to have little idea about how to price something reasonably.

There is also no way that Sky can generate the same Buzz that Netflix has for one very simple reason. Originality. For the size, reach and revenue of Sky, they simply do not commission anything that would make for a compelling enough reason to choose them over anyone else.

Furthermore, they’re not going to include sport. Sky’s CEO, John Fellet told NBR that sport was off the table because “People prefer to watch sport live”.

This is exactly why this is doomed for failure. The head of the entire company seems completely oblivious to the fact that sport can already be streamed live.

Based on Sky’s track record in this space we can fairly safely assume that their SVOD service will be buggy, lacking in any original content and cost too much to justify it being a credible service worth subscribing to. Hands up who thinks I’m wrong.

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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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  • As someone who already watches the Warriors, Black Caps and All Blacks HD via live streaming for $0, but wouldn’t mind a sensibly prices NZ alternative, this is really horrible.

    Why can’t they come up with a sports-only streaming package that isn’t linked to a specific ISP or a specific technical platform?

    Their competition (charging $0) already do, so it isn’t a technical issue.

  • Mark Wasley

    SKY Sport can be streamed live on SKY GO to any subscriber who subscribes to the Sport package, and has Multiroom.

  • Preston

    Sky has had a streaming service for a few years now including live streaming of sport.