The Changing Nature Of How We Consume Media

The date is June 1st, 1960, and it is the first broadcast of television in New Zealand. 

From then until the 1989, broadcasts were mostly controlled by the Government. New Zealand’s first pay-to-view television came in 1990 – and Sky Television still holds a large part of the market share today.

Who could’ve thought that in little over 50-years time, the landscape of what seemed to be the one constant in home entertainment would change forever.

By todays standards; 50-years seems almost like an eternity for one solitary entity to remain the primary way people consume their entertainment. But that’s exactly what happened with TV.

In the late 2000s, Apple released a phone that caught the attention of the world, and it would change the way people consume media forever.

The iPhone was a game changer, and nothing like it has been achieved since.

We’ve seen Samsung battle Apple at the top of the smartphone market, but companies like Huawai and Sony have also made significant progress in the past few years.

And then came instant streaming, on demand, and relatively cheap ways of viewing the content that people want, not what they are given. Yes, I am talking about Netflix.

Netflix has fundamentally ‘changed the game’, especially in recent times. It’s cheaper to create content and doesn’t rely on the backing of major television companies. Netflix allows people to stream content on their phones and tablets, but a large percentage of the service’s user base still uses it on their televisions at home.

So therefore, it keeps a tradition that seemed doomed not too long ago very much still alive. That tradition? Consuming content on a fixed television screen in peoples homes, or at least those who choose to view it that way.

Sky Television’s Future Will Be Determined By Their Own Values 

With all this change toward a more digital and noncommittal nature of media consumption – it leaves companies like Sky Television facing an uncertain future.

Sky’s biggest, and perhaps only real drawcard right now, is their exclusive rights to the rugby.

Overpriced, yes, but still not real value for money when you compare to the likes of Netflix and others. Currently, Sky’s only alternative to having a monthly subscription with a set top box is what they call FANPASS – and that actually costs more to buy than the prior.

How is it that Sky can justify a few hundred dollars for six months of online sports content in 2017?

Sky have signalled their intention to remain on top of the rugby coverage market and they did this when they took most of New Zealand’s media companies to court over what they call “theft of content”.

Sky’s rationale behind this is due to news sites using video clips of games in their editorial coverage, but they simply don’t realise that video has become a key component of how news is delivered in 2017.

The Changing Nature Of How We Consume Media 

Is TV a dying form of media? No way.

If radio can survive the TV broadcast revolution; then TV can definitely survive the instant streaming revolution. Prices for Netflix and other only-online services will likely increase over time, and it could become a point of contention in the future.

But TV, and to a lesser extent media, still involves consumers looking at screens and working with devices that continue to adapt themselves to fit into our lifestyle. How we consume these mediums is changing, and that is the only certainty right now.

Joseph Parker’s WBO Title win costs too much

Joe Parker’s big win at Vector Arena last night was something that should have been aired live on free-to-air television.

The fight went all 12-rounds, and Parker won the WBO World Heavyweight Title after a tight majority decision. After the fight, Parker thanked New Zealand and Samoa, meanwhile Andy Ruiz Jr says that he wants a rematch against Parker.

New Zealand Professional Boxing Association boss Lance Revill says that Ruiz Jr was robbed and slammed Parker’s victory.   Continue reading Joseph Parker’s WBO Title win costs too much

Sky TV’s sustainability won’t last if problems continue

Sky Television’s response to angry customers complaining about the software upgrade is, perhaps, just as concerning as the myriad of problems that has come with the rollout.

Sky is believed to have completed the national rollout of its software upgrade across 800,000 homes with digital and MySky decoders.

Complaints have been coming in thick and fast, with the biggest concerns being over screen lag, sound/picture quality, and readability of text on the new software and navigation system on Sky decoders.

The new interface is completely different than what Sky customers have been used to.

Sky Television’s spokesperson Kirsty Way offered little reassurance in a statement overnight.

According to Ms. Way, the new software that Sky has released is the basis for the future.

This means that the push of the On Demand service won’t be halting any time soon, despite its content being laughably unsubstantiated. If the On Demand service is to work for Sky, they must lower their prices.

On top of that, many customers have already said that they don’t subscribe to Sky TV for its On Demand content.

Sky TV is most commonly subscribed to in New Zealand due to its coverage of rugby, league, and cricket via the Sky Sport package.

The movie channels were once a powerhouse, but that has fallen on the wayside for Sky in recent years.

Despite the complaints on Sky’s social media, which range in the hundreds and thousands, Ms. Way said that the new software package is still yet to be thoroughly tested.

Sky has promised a rollout of updates that will fix bugs in the new software.

Netflix and Lightbox only making it harder for Sky TV

Netflix and the popular Lightbox are now both available in New Zealand, and the battle has only gotten harder for pay TV provider Sky Television.

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With Netflix recently becoming available in New Zealand and the advent of TV streaming service Lightbox, it is becoming harder and harder for Sky Television to defend the pricing for their once dominant pay-tv packages.

On top of the basic package, Sky’s movie package adds an extra $20 to the monthly fee.

This in itself isn’t that pricey because the Netflix packages start at $10 and go up to $16 for the premium option.

Lightbox offers its service for $13 per month.

With these numbers, what Sky is charging for their six-channel movie package couldn’t exactly be called a rip off.

The problem that Sky face is with the content.

Lightbox offers popular TV shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter, CSI, and many more current and classic series.

Nearly any popular movie or television show can also be found on Netflix and both services offer premium content for a cheaper price that Sky’s variety but flat lineup of movies and programming.

The popular Game of Thrones series airs on Sky’s SoHo channel, but that costs an extra $10 per month for access to that channel.

Another huge issue for all pay-TV providers, and the likes of Netflix and Lightbox for that matter, is the various free/illegal options available on the internet where the same content can be found and downloaded.

The way people are watching content is changing vastly.

Now the idea of streaming content on a pay subscription basis is becoming more accepted, and more the norm.

Sky has answered with a TV and movie-streaming service of their own, called Neon.

It seems to be becoming more and more apparent that Sky Television is losing their once dominant stranglehold on the NZ television viewing market, and increasingly is becoming reliant on some big sports licenses to remain in position at the top.

Affordable rugby alternatives for Sky TV are not so cheap

Sky Television will allow for standalone season pass options, but it comes with a hefty catch.

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A “season pass” to Super Rugby, or the NRL if you would prefer, will cost $299.00.

A monthly fee of $70 is available, or weekly for $29.

Access to the content will be through a website called Fan Pass which is powered by Sky Sport.

Although this option of standalone season passes is what consumers fed up with Sky TV’s high prices have been asking for, the fee for a single season of Super Rugby is surprisingly high.

Add in that this content is online only, it requires high speed internet and reasonably stable connections which in many areas are few in far between, consumers should be still a little skeptical about leaving the monthly $100 for their MySky HDi boxes just yet.

The new service rolls out next week.

Sky TV yet to secure RWC 2015 rights

The Rugby World Cup is less than a year away, and Sky TV are yet to secure the broadcast rights.

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Back in 2011 Sky Sport was the host broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup.

This was not a surprise because the tournament was held in New Zealand and Sky TV is New Zealand’s primary sports broadcaster through its ever growing Sky Sports channel lineup. Free to air television stations got their share of the rights also, including live coverage of 16 games and delayed for the rest while Sky Sport broadcasted each game of the 2011 RWC live.

But New Zealand’s big pay TV provider has long been the home for most big sports on New Zealand television.

Much has been made about Sky’s future as the big dog of the sports broadcasting scene in New Zealand after in the last year both the English Premier League and the PGA Tour rights to internet TV company Coliseum Sports.

Much has been speculated about the possibility of Sky offering season passes for certain sports.

For example, if a subscriber only wanted to watch the All Blacks for a season, this would be available for a one off season pass fee.

When asked directly by Tony Veitch on Radio Sport this weekend, admitted they were still in negotiation over the rights to next years Rugby World Cup.

With the tournament being held in England, it would be safe to assume that the host broadcaster would be the likes of Sky Sports UK so the chances of Sky Sport here in New Zealand securing the rights to all the games while closing out all coverage rights to free to air channels like TVNZ and TV3 are rather slim one would think.

Back in 2007 Sky TV completely missed out on all the RWC coverage and free to air channel TV3 secured all the rights.

Could this be a similar theme in 2015? Surely not.

With the amount of revenue Sky Television make per year from its large subscriber base securing the rights to RWC 2015 shouldn’t be an issue in terms of competition with other TV bidders in New Zealand.

Sky Television’s high prices for rugby coverage add the need for other options

Sky Television is the only place where you can watch live All Blacks rugby in New Zealand. With the current agreement due to end next year, will the pay TV service remain the destination for all the rugby fans have come to know and love?

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Rugby has been the main draw card for Sky Television in New Zealand homes for many people.

The sports based packages are likely where Sky draws its core revenue from, and the comprehensive wall to wall coverage of international rugby as well as so many other popular sports is a big reason as to why most people who subscribe to Sky’s basic package go on to add the sports package.

It is also a big reason why Sky are always offering the sports package for 6 months at no additional cost upon sign up.

Currently, Sky has a whopping 11 core sports channels. Sky recently launched a second ESPN channel and has added Sommet Sports to its lineup this year as well.

But major internet provider Orcon has released information that is very worrying for Sky.

According to Orcon, overseas rugby fans are able to access live streaming rugby in high definition for under $7 in some services compared to Sky’s $100 monthly fee for it’s basic and sports package.

Sky know that sports is a big part of their continued success and relativity in the market, but with the ever growing concept of internet TV, this could soon be unjustifiable even for the mega successful brand that is Sky Television.

The sports viewing options to Sky Sport subscribers has been the subject of much criticism in the last year after rights to complete English Premier League were lost, and despite Sky now airing coverage of the main big name teams in that competition, the loss of Moto GP added to the frustration.

Sky also recently announced it had lost the rights too a big portion of its gold coverage as well.

It is hard to see what will happen once the current agreement that Sky have to air All Black rugby, Super Rugby, and ITM Cup ends next year. It would be a push to say that aspects of the agreement won’t change if renewal takes place, and ITM Cup could well be the big loser from that.

There has already been discussion about ITM Cup rugby and its place on mainstream television.

Tony Veitch recently aired his views that ITM Cup rugby should be left to only a Saturday and Sunday afternoon affair, saying the competition should stay on television, but be condensed immensely.

The purpose for the Orcon petition that is going round the traps is exactly right.

Despite Sky’s magnificent wall to wall coverage of rugby, and the superb focus on most sports around the world, their prices are getting tougher and tougher to justify for the average consumer. Trends being what they are, Sky are only set to raise their prices, and thus the likelihood and need for an internet TV streaming service for rugby in New Zealand will be investigated further.

It is time for Sky to either lower their expensive prices, or release the key on sole rights to rugby so a cheaper option can be available to people.