Igloo pay-DTT for New Zealand
By Colin Mann

Following the news November 24 that Sky Television and Television New Zealand (TVNZ) had formed a partnership to launch a new digital pay television service, delivering pay channels over Sky’s digital terrestrial spectrum, Sky has released further details of the venture.

The new service – to be called Igloo – will provide paid-for and free content, including free-to-air channels, to a digital decoder, which is also readied to utilise Ultra-Fast-Broadband (UFB) in the future.

Igloo’s GM Chaz Savage described Igloo as “telly made by Kiwis for Kiwis. We ran six months of research asking Kiwis what they wanted. They told us what channels they wanted and the fact that more choice and flexibility were key. We took all of that research and from it we created Igloo.”

Sky has a 51 per cent shareholding and TVNZ a 49 per cent shareholding in the joint venture.

The retail price of the set top box is yet to be confirmed but Sky aims to sell it for under NZ$200 (€116). Once connected to the TV and UHF aerial, it gives access to all the free to air channels and gives the option to purchase a 30 day channel pack for around $25 giving access to 11 Igloo channels.

Igloo’s 11 channels will include Comedy Central, UKTV, Food TV, BBC World News and BBC Knowledge, MTV Hits, Kidzone24, National Geographic Channel, TVNZ Heartland, Animal Planet and Vibe.

It will also be possible to purchase live pay-per-view sports events and rent titles from a catalogue of over a 1,000 movies and TV episodes. On Demand films and TV episodes are streamed over a broadband connection and once purchased will be available to view as many times as desired for 48 hours. Paid content can be opted in or out as required, paying through the Igloo box or via the website.

The Igloo box includes WiFi and Ethernet connections to access the On Demand content and enables you to purchase content from the couch. Content can also be purchased from the Igloo website www.igloo.co.nz. The Igloo box also features two USB ports, one to play home media such as family movies, holiday snaps and music on the TV, the other to enable the live pause functionality.

“We’re so excited about launching this alternative for Kiwis,” said Savage. “And we believe that if you invite Igloo into your home the world will arrive with it – from David Attenborough to Rhys Darby, from the All Blacks to Usain Bolt, from Lennon to Gaga, from Downton Abbey to The Kennedys. It’s all there and it’s never been easier to access.”

Sky’s CEO John Fellet said the launch of Igloo was perfectly timed to take advantage of the digital switch over and would give Kiwis more choice about what television they watch and how they want to watch it.

“We want to get as much great content to New Zealanders as possible,” added TVNZ’s CEO Rick Ellis – soon to leave the broadcaster to head Telstra’s media division. “Joining forces with Skyand launching Igloo allows us to do just that – it opens up more great shows and programmes to many more Kiwi households.”