Sky TV has copped a slap on the wrist from the Commerce Commission for accidentally overcharging around 2500 customers.

Sky was running a promotion where customers could sign up to one of its premium services for a month for only $1 but an error in the automated telephone system caused customers to be charged up to $25 instead.

2634 Sky customers were overcharged as the telephone system had not been updated with the correct pricing information. Continue reading »

SKY responds to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s demand side study into high speed broadband, released earlier today.

“Following a thorough investigation, the Telecommunications Commissioner has identified the cost of using high speed broadband as a crucial factor in whether or not people take up the service. SKY agrees and notes that pricing appears to be heading in the right direction,” says SKY CEO John Fellet. Continue reading »

Significant  concerns  about  access  to  content  and  Sky’s  contracts  with  ISPs. 

The Commerce Commission today announced the completion of its investigation into Igloo, the joint venture between TVNZ and Sky. It concluded that Igloo was unlikely to reduce competition in the pay TV market, despite concerns also being raised about Sky’s entry into the free-­‐to-­‐air market.

However, Sky’s not off the hook with the Commission. Continue reading »

The Commerce Commission has completed its investigation into the joint venture between Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ) and Sky Network Television Limited (Sky) finding the pay TV market will not be less competitive as a result of the venture.

In November 2011, TVNZ entered into a joint venture agreement with Sky to launch a new low-cost subscription TV service, known as Igloo.

The Commission received a number of complaints that the joint venture had the potential to substantially lessen competition. It opened an investigation to determine whether there was any likely breach of sections 47 or 27 of the Commerce Act. Today, the Commission advised TVNZ and Sky that it had found no likely breach. Continue reading »

Received the following letter from Sky TV this morning.

At SKY we strive to provide you with the very best value in entertainment.

Over the last year we have added more channels and worked hard to secure the best TV content we possible can for our subscribers. Here are a few highlights: Continue reading »

Following the hugely successful launch of the SKY Apple app, SKY is pleased to announce the Android version is available for download from today. The SKY Android app includes a set of useful features around SKY’s TV guide including the ability to remote record to MY SKY decoders.

Portable access to this extensive listing information for all SKY and free to air channels will benefit all TV viewers in NZ, including SKY’s more than 846,000 customers. Continue reading »

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…

There have been a number of stories recently about a new joint venture between Sky, TVNZ and Telecom with the special code name Igloo.  It’s rumoured to be a Sky-Lite package with 10-14 channels for the low cost of $25 per month.  

That would put it right in the middle of the basic Sky digital package at $47.66 per month and Freeview with no monthly subscription fees.  However, of the 52 channels, how many of those would Sky want to put on to a slimmed down version?  Of those 10-14 channels, how many would be new channels created by TVNZ?

The main question though is do we need a cheaper, slimmed down version of Sky or do we need competition in that space?

Around the world, the Pay TV landscape is littered with companies vying for their piece of the market.  In doing so, that competition drives down the prices and ultimately creates better packages of channels.  Just check out these Dish Network Packages

It may be American but check out that list of channels and plans.  Here, there is only one option.  Too bad if you want the SyFy channel or the Oprah Winfrey Network.  It’s not as if you can go to another provider to subscribe.  Everything hinges on what Sky wants to offer.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could select which channels you wanted at a competitive price as opposed to what a single organisation wanted to price it at.  At the moment, the market does not decide.  Only one single company does.  Doesn’t that need to change?

Last night, Mils Muliaina became the second All Black to play 100 tests.  1.8 million people tuned in to watch the All Blacks beat Argentina 33 to 10 in an exciting match but when it came to the presentation, none of the networks aired it, instead, running their own commentary, dissecting the game.

Outrage has erupted online with many fans angry and disappointed at the broadcasters disrespect to one of New Zealand rugby’s champions.  On the All Blacks official site, fans were fuming over the decision to ignore the presentation.  And, of course, a Facebook page has been started.

Sky Television has responded saying the broadcaster had other obligations which forced them to cut away from the speech.

Head of corporate communications, Kirsty Way, said:

”Unfortunately we had other filming obligations as part of our host broadcast obligations for post-match interviews,” she said this morning.

”We were not able to show Mils’ speech at that time. The post-match interviews were to take place at the same time and that’s what we were set up to do.”

Now that we’re at the knockout stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Sky Sport, One, 3 and Maori Television are all screening the games.  The only other time this tends to happen is party political broadcasts or some cunning commercial.

Given this is the case, it is interesting to flick between the channels to check what the quality is like.

We’re watching the games on a 103″ screen which really shows up the quality when it’s blown up this big.  We had been watching on Sky until we decided to have a flick between the channels only to find how poor the broadcast quality on Sky Sports HD is.  Considering subscribers pay a premium for Sky Sports and another premium for HD, it is somewhat surprising to find how inferior it is to both TV One and TV 3.  

Of TV One and TV 3, TV One’s picture quality is much sharper.  Unfortunately for Maori Television, they’re the only broadcaster who isn’t showing the games in HD.  

Based on what we’ve observed, we rank the picture quality in the following order:

1. TV One
2. TV 3
3. Sky Sport 1
4. Maori Television

What observations have you made about the broadcast quality?