playstation-logoYou don’t have to look too far to realise that what is driving many in the TV world right now is original content. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have jumped head first into the game with hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black while TV networks like E! have even boarded the plane with original drama series of their own.

People want original content and those with audiences are figuring out how to produce the right stuff for them. It’s not just limited to streaming services and TV broadcasters now though. Sony’s PlayStation is getting in on the act too.

Sony’s PlayStation used the Electronic Entertainment Expo in early June to make a stand in the race to develop an original drama that could rival Netflix’s efforts. Executives for the gaming console said June 9 that its first original series — Powers, based on the superhero comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming — will premiere in December on the PlayStation Plus subscription service. Casting has begun on the ambitious live-action series.

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When Sky announced they were launching a Subscription Video on Demand service today, CEO John Fellet stated that it wouldn’t include sport because “People want to watch sport live”.

This post is just for you, John. As you can see, you can already stream certain sporting events, like tonight’s State of Origin game. It’s even in HD! All you need to make the “Sorry this event is not available in your area” message go away is Hola.

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. Continue reading »

skytv_logoStuff reported over the weekend

The home entertainment industry may be in for a major shake-up amid signs Sky Television is negotiating to buy the country’s fourth largest internet provider, Orcon.

Orcon director Warren Hurst indicated late on Friday evening that a deal for the sale of the internet provider was being worked on over the weekend. Continue reading »

Piracy has been a problem for content creators since forever but over time, business models have been forced to change. It is simply a case of evolve, or die. The music industry suffered immensely from the likes of Napster in the early 2000′s but finally learned to embrace the digital era with the creation of services like Spotify. For TV and movies we now have services like Quickflix, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

People seem happy to pay a reasonable fee for the content they want. And if they can’t, they choose to access it via alternative means, usually free. This results in the potential conditioning of consumers who, even when prices and services improve, remain content with their existing arrangements.

Consumers will always seek out a better deal if there is one. In the case of New Zealand, we are limited by TV networks who delay scheduling and charge what they like due to the lack of competition in the subscription TV space. Consumers, for years, have protested. Initially, many were downloading the content they want via bit torrent, file lockers or Usenet. Many still are. But there are a growing number of people who are using legitimate international services to access the content they want at a fraction of the cost of what they would pay locally.

So how does it work? Continue reading »

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.

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netflix-logoIt appears as though some Netflix subscribers in New Zealand have had their access impaired. A number of users took to social media over the weekend to decry the situation.

On Geekzone, 27 pages of comments are dedicated to the subject.

UnblockUS, a VPN service, posted:

we’ve investigated the issue and here is what we’ve found: Continue reading »

the crowd goes wildA reader emailed the tip line last night to say

Tonight, Sky Sport 4, between 8:10 and 8:14pm, a replay of Crowd Goes Wild was airing. After the show went to the ad break, an ad aired, then what appeared to be a portion of off-camera banter between Andrew and Mark was shown. The cameraman was zooming in on various things, the producers were talking in the background. In that clip, very soon after the clip started, Andrew clearly said the words “f*** off” to Mark as the two talked to each other.

The clip lasted about a minute, then an ad was shown, and then the exact same clip aired again, from start to finish, before another couple of ads, then the show resumed as normal.

Sky have now issued us with official apology to viewers: Continue reading »

not-so-happyHere is an angry dialogue between a faithful Sky subscriber and their customer service team over the weekend.

Me: “Hi, my son spilt a cup of tea into the MySky thingy and it caught fire. I think it’s broken”
SKY: “You need to pay us $571 for a new one, then we’ll put you on the logs for a technician to bring it out”
Me: “But you own it and we rent it off you so being the owner doesn’t your insurance cover it?”
SKY: “No, your insurance should cover it, when you have made your claim and paid us we’ll give you a new one”
Me: “But my insurer doesn’t pay out on things unless we own them”
SKY: “Nobody can own a Sky decoder, only Sky” Continue reading »

The basic package price is about to increase again for Sky Subscribers. The New Zealand Herald has asked me to find a Sky subscriber who isn’t happy about this and would like to make a comment for tomorrow’s paper. If you’d like to let your feelings be known, please contact me ASAP.