TVNZ and Telecom in running for Sky pay TV deal
Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 17-11-2011 Television New Zealand and Telecom have been in talks to join Sky TV's proposed new digital terrestrial pay TV platform with 10 to 14 channels.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Sky will be finalising the business plan for the new platform before Christmas, and that any partners would be chosen early in the New Year. It will also discuss extending the rights deals of existing channels on Sky satellite TV - such as SoHo and CNN - to cover digital terrestrial.
Sky TV chief executive John Fellet said two companies' proposals were advanced, and in the front running, though he declined to name them. However, an industry source said they were TVNZ and Telecom. Both companies refused to comment on speculation.
For state broadcaster TVNZ, a partnership with Sky would be an opportunity for it to move into pay-TV without challenging the latter. It might also remove the prospect of Sky buying TV3 - a major strategic risk facing the state broadcaster. For Telecom it will ensure access and a relationship with Sky and its unregulated dominance of content.
Sky has the skills and resources to run the new platform on its own but a partnership would quell the growing criticism about its monopoly and deaden demands it should be regulated.
Tentatively branded "Igloo", the new platform is being built to coincide with the digital switchover between 2012 and 2014 when all analogue TV signals will be turned off.