TVNZ 6 and 7 to be available on Sky

March 25th, 2009 at 2:31 pm by David Farrar

Yay yay yay. I have heard a reliable rumour that later today it will be announced that 6 and 7 will be made available on Sky.

This is excellent news as it means Sky users (especially those who use My Sky) can get all NZ free to air channels through the one device.

The taxpayer directly funds TVNZ around $80 million for these channels. I objected to having to buy a second decoder to get them, when I already had aperfectly good digital decoder. But it wasn’t so much the cost – it is about being user friendly.

Users wants all their free to air channels (and any others they pay for) on the one device. I want to see all programmes on at say 7 pm on the one listing.

Not sure if any money has changed hands to facilitate this. Hopefully Sky is also making Prime available on Freeview as quid pro quo.

I have never watched an episode of Media 7 because it is not on Sky, and I really want to. Likewise never watched Backbenches except if there in person. This deal should see viewership increase significantly for both prigrammes.

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43 Responses to “TVNZ 6 and 7 to be available on Sky”

  1. goonix (140 comments) says:

    About time. I was never going to shell out for a Freeview box as well as for mysky.

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  2. coventry (316 comments) says:

    Booo HISSS….

    Would rather see local TV supporting the local ‘free to air’ platform. Either that or have it possible for users to gain access to Sky Digitals (TVNZ / TV3 channels) free of charge. Why should you pay $xxx a month to watch free to air content ?

    Tivo + Freeview HD ftw… And that’s without getting in to any argument about what is really HD content and what is not.

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  3. senzafine (454 comments) says:

    Great Move. Now I hope this has a flow on effect for TCL customers.

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  4. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Media 7. You’re not missing much, but if you do happen to enjoy watching smarmy, snarky limp-wristed pinkos and listening to their dire views on the world, you’ll love it.

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  5. dime (9,399 comments) says:

    least we know whats replacing ALT tv :(

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  6. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    This would be extremely good news and like you would mean I watch backbenchers and Media 7. I’ve had chances to watch some of them and it is available online but my internet sucks too much. Very good news.

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  7. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    It’s really annoying that Prime isn’t on Freeview. Most of the good programmes these days seem to be on Prime, and yet this supposedly free to air channel is unavailable unless you have Sky.

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  8. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Jarbury – I can get Prime, and do not have Sky.

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  9. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Reason 4958 to sell TVNZ ( not that anyone in their right mind would actuall pay cion of the realm to buy it)

    It is a dying beast and in a few years will be but a shadow of its former self as niche operators and other media take its territory away

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  10. emmess (1,368 comments) says:

    I get Prime on Analogue but hardly ever watch it because I have to find the other remote which is a real pain in the arse, and I don’t what is on because there is no EPG

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  11. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    Graeme… please tell me your secret. UHF aerial?

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    UHF aerial.

    We got one so we could pick up Freeview HD, but it also operates as a UHF aerial, so we can get reception through the TV on that.

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  13. Trevor Mallard (245 comments) says:

    Isn’t the point that we have to end up with a system for transmission that is not tied to a particular content provider. This was one of the important areas of discussion in the Digital Review that was recently scrapped. The end of the analogue system is not far off – bringing that forward frees up a lot of bandwidth which is very valuable and could be used to help develop the new system. We will all have our favourite delivery systems – Freeview, sky, cable in some areas and more often through a variety of broadband approaches – and of course it is fair to charge for content but handing these programmes and presumably TVNZ One and 2 to Sky for nothing means that the system is unbalanced. i’m not often a fan of structural separation but this could well be necessary here. Otherwise this is just a gift from the taxpayer to one overseas owned private sector player.

    [DPF: Why not just have all free to air channels available on all platforms?]

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  14. DanielM (38 comments) says:

    David, all episodes of Media7 and Back Benches are on http://www.tvnzondemand.co.nz.

    [DPF: Yeah but I like to watch TV programmes on my TV generally]

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  15. georgebolwing (602 comments) says:

    My main concern is that Freeview was another example of the previous Government insisting that the public sector replicate what the private sector could do perfectly well. Another example was the stupid idea that the SSC run its own telephone system in competition to the telcos.

    Free-to-air TV is a dying technology. Yes, in the past, it was all that we had and some people object to having to pay for that which was once provided for free. Well, actually, it was paid for by the consumers who bought the products that were advertised who, as a group, tended to be the people doing the watching.

    But I don’t see any need to treat pay TV as a natural monopoly and regulate it. There are perfectly viable alternatives, like the internet, that should prevent the providers earning super-normal profits.

    Let the market rule, I say. People who want to continue old technology because it is old can keep voting Labour.

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  16. dog_eat_dog (743 comments) says:

    Trevor, if Labour was serious about Freeview, why was there no voucher option like in the States and why was the analogue cut-off date pushed back? I don’t see why Freeview needed to be on Sky either, but you can’t tell me that everything was done that could have been done to push it.

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  17. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    Daniel M,

    Theoretically yes they are, but it depends on your ISP I beleive, as everytime I have tried in the past it has told me the content is unavailable to me as I am not in NZ (I am), I have emailed TVNZ about this at least twice, but have had no response from them.

    So I am glad that I can get Sky and access all that Freeview has to offer, I’ll be even happier if Prime is now on Freeview as a quid pro quo

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  18. GPT1 (2,088 comments) says:

    Very good and not before time. Assume quid pro quo that prime is going to be available through Freeview?

    Trevour – I just can’t see how TVNZ 6 & 7 is the big pulling power for freeview (vs getting the main free channels in digital without paying for Sky). And wouldn’t the primary revenue stream be advertising? In other words the wider the distribution though whichever platform the more advertisers can be charged.

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  19. lofty (1,303 comments) says:

    Hello Trevor Mallard
    I am still waiting to hear your answer to your outrageous claim that employees should not work for employers who have less than 20 staff, because they will be fired after 90 days regardless of their work rate, ethic etc.
    C’mon mallard you big blouse I have been away spending money hand over fist on holiday in the SI for 2 weeks, so may have missed your reply to my previous challenge. Happy to spread my dough around other business folk, may have saved an employee, leading up to 90 days, who knows.
    I know that all my employees are safe in their jobs.
    So come on you big bully shit, explain yourself, I know you will read this.
    Oh thats right you will be busy in opposition won’t you?
    Perhaps you can explain what it is you do again.

    [DPF: This is off topic. Demerits next time]

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Assume quid pro quo that prime is going to be available through Freeview?

    Apparently not. Yet, anyway.

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  21. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    lofty – in your 6:35pm comment you don’t sound very much like the successful businessman you describe.

    The petulance makes what you have come up with sound more like the kind of thing that usually earns my 4 year old a trip to the naughty step.

    Great use of the opportunity to address the MP! :-P

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  22. lofty (1,303 comments) says:

    Thanks for the input ratbiter.
    I just want mallard to explain his outrageous claim.
    Whats wrong with that?
    I have asked this very same question for a few weeks now, but your man will not reply.
    I have my answer really, he is just a bully who takes potshots and then runs for cover.
    I accept that I will never get a response from that person, but you are near enough for me, thanks.
    Correspondence on this subject from me is closed, my case is proved.

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  23. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    If that is the case, methinks he’s unlikely to reply to that question on a thread about TVNZ 7….

    …Oh and I’m flattered that I’m a sufficient stand-in for Trevor Mallard in your opinion!

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  24. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    This sucks.

    Now Sky will boast these extra channels as a selling feature for its service and is thus getting a direct hand-out from the taxpayer.

    Not all of us are lucky enough to be on a welfare benefit (and thus able to afford Sky like all the homes in the poorest parts of most cities).

    No, I have to work for my money so I consider Sky a luxury, not (like WINZ) an necessity so do without it in favour of other things like food, power, phone, clothes etc.

    Why on earth is the Kiwi taxpayer effectively providing what appears to be free content for a commercial enterprise like SkyTV?

    In other words, taxpayers are giving money to a commercial enterprise (Sky TV) and getting nothing back in return, unless they’re also a Sky subscriber.

    Talk about corporate welfare systems.

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  25. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    @ Trevor Mallard – this is a typical Capitalism New Zealand style move. It is about a monopoly provider cashing it’s funding cheque with it’s cronies who are now in government to ensure that it can for as long as possible screw the New Zealand consumer by charging monopoly rents to access it’s service.

    The solution to the rentier crony capitalism so beloved by the National Party and the Business Round Table is for a clear statement that legislation will be passed upon the change of government in 2011 so that Sky will be forced to break up into competing companies, using the same platform. There will be much predictable wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing about the end of the world as we know it from the lunatics of the Kiwiblog right, but most consumers will just be pleased at better pay TV plans at a lower price.

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  26. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Why on earth is the Kiwi taxpayer effectively providing what appears to be free content for a commercial enterprise like Sky TV?”

    Think about it aardvark. TVNZ can claim a much greater viewing audience by making this available. There is little chance it would ever invest in another set top box alongside a mysky, I’m sure many are in the same position – so TVNZ were missing out on those potential viewers and therefore advertising revenue.

    If you’re small minded enough to think you have to have two decoders to watch free to air broadcasting then you would probably also support market cornering bullshit like Microsoft’s non-compatibility issues of the 90′s

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  27. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    Ironically, I see this as proof that Freeview is winning. Yep, really.

    For as long as viewers had to shell out for a separate set-top box to get Freeview then Freeview had to offer some unique content, like the Olympics and TVNZ6 and TVNZ7, in order to capture viewers.

    But now we’re seeing the rapid move to all new TVs having a Freeview decoder built in. Over the next 3-5 years most TVs in New Zealand will be replaced with new high definition sets. Those HD sets will have Freeview built in, effectively at no cost to the viewer. TVNZ can now afford to let TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 go off in search of more eyeballs – it’s got its goal of driving up Freeview adoption. In this paradigm the onus shifts subtly back to Sky now having to have unique content in order to capture viewers.

    I know from working with both TVNZ and Sky that their market research shows Sky customers spend most of their time using Sky to view free-to-air TV, particularly TV1, TV2 and TV3. That made sense when Sky’s digital satellite service gave you a better picture.

    In return TV1, TV2 and TV3 got more viewer eyeballs to sell to advertisers. That made sense when Sky was pretty much the exclusive channel to NZ’s high-value eyeballs.

    But as Freeview gets more traction both of those arguments weaken significantly. My prediction … in 3-5 years time Sky will need to pay TVNZ and Mediaworks to carry their content.

    And for those who think free-to-air TV is a dying technology … show me how any pipe dream IPTV service can deliver the commercial returns of advertising funded free-to-air for first-run content. Radio didn’t kill newspapers. TV didn’t kill radio. The internet will not kill TV. The media world will shuffle around a bit, but TV will still be here and it will still be the media form of choice for high-value content. All you’ll be watching on IPTV is re-runs of Gilligans Island.

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  28. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    A good move to have 6 and 7 on Sky. I wonder if the TV3 plus One service (starting next month) will also be available. BUT Free to Air must be given access to Prime in return. I want to see Prime in Digital rather than the old grainy finish. I agree that all free to air stations should be available on one box whether that is a Sky box or a Free to Air box. Even better would be one box full stop and if I wanted to subscribe to some Sky (or other) services on it I could – at the moment I understand that I can only get free to air on Sky if i subscribe to their other services and that does not work for me.

    The other point is that Sky services typically now are Satellite and that quality is not as good as the terrestrial digital services provided by Free to Air.

    And why don’t I subscribe to Sky. Because except for the sports, its crap. And I have not got the time to sit and watch the amount of sport that would justify the cost.

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  29. slijmbal (1,211 comments) says:

    aardvark – moving these channels to Sky might actually make money for TVNZ – their basic mechanism for revenue is advertising based on user viewing stats – Freeview is Ok but not exactly something to write home about in terms of viewing stats – putting it on sky is likely to double their viewers or more.

    I splurged out on a new telly after 20 years and also got a deal on MySky HD – the telly came with freeview – I never watch it as the convenience of mysky trumps the extra channels every time – the content of the extra channels is also s***e.

    TVNZ got it wrong – came late to the party and are now doing catchup – if they brought Tivo or similar in 3 or 4 years ago they would have been ahead in the game but they’re too b***dy government mindset based to do something like that.

    This is not a direct hand-out from the taxpayer to Sky it’s TVNZ trying to rescue a flawed approach – stupidity on their part. Sky had all the cards and played the game correctly.

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  30. coventry (316 comments) says:

    http://www.national.org.nz/files/.___0_0_Broadcasting.pdf

    3. Embracing Digital Technology
    • Switch off analogue by 2015. The final date will be confirmed once 75% of households have digital, or 2012, whichever occurs first.
    • Maintain funding for the Freeview platform.
    • Demand public accountability for the $79 million of direct funding allocated to TVNZ6 & TVNZ7

    So on one hand they still want to fund the FreeView platform, but by giving Murdoch access to the content, they shoot themselves in the foot ?

    I am with Aardvark on this one, Sky is a Private MONOPOLY, it’s overpriced and the content is crap. Hell you never own the H/Ware either.

    If you want a real HD recording platform – check out the – http://www.tivx.co.nz/home.html – yes, it has a FreeView Tuner option which you can record from, yes its true HD, and yes – you OWN it.

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  31. slijmbal (1,211 comments) says:

    coventry beg to differ – For instance, Prime manages to continously outflank competitors on their programs – high profile programs such as conchords and true blood – award winners – I reckon <40% of the programs I now watch are free to air – so not convinced

    I quickly browsed the link – and as far as I can see it doesn’t even come close to the functionality of mysky

    I repeat my previous point – TVNZ got it wrong. And fyi – yes I paid to have a device I do not own but the drives on these devices tend to suck the kumura after about 3 years and I get it fixed for free.

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  32. dog_eat_dog (743 comments) says:

    To be fair to TVNZ, if they were bidding for All Blacks, rugby rights and other things people actually would get Freeview to watch, there’d be an outrage. I don’t think they can win in this regard. Mind you, neither can the consumer. Freeview is great, and the picture quality is amazing, but the big drawcards – rugby, cricket, motorsport, six hours of The Simpson’s a weekend is all on Sky. At least when it rains I can still watch Freeview.

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  33. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    What TVNZ needs to do is get rid of the shit like Media 7 on its digital platform and put content on that people actually want to watch. How else is TVNZ suppose to generate an adequate rate of return for the taxpayer.? The best long term plan is to sell TVNZ off.

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  34. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Farrar posts

    “This deal should see viewership increase significantly for both prigrammes.” – yep, up to 11 now!

    Mallard 4.31pm, who says

    “Isn’t the point that we have to end up with a system for transmission that is not tied to a particular content provider. This was one of the important areas of discussion in the Digital Review that was recently scrapped. The end of the analogue system is not far off – bringing that forward frees up a lot of bandwidth which is very valuable and could be used to help develop the new system. We will all have our favourite delivery systems – Freeview, sky, cable in some areas and more often through a variety of broadband approaches – and of course it is fair to charge for content but handing these programmes and presumably TVNZ One and 2 to Sky for nothing means that the system is unbalanced. i’m not often a fan of structural separation but this could well be necessary here. Otherwise this is just a gift from the taxpayer to one overseas owned private sector player.

    [DPF: Why not just have all free to air channels available on all platforms?]”

    Nah, lets buy a second hand satellite for Radio Pravda and Televizual NZ to broadcast from.

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  35. goonix (140 comments) says:

    Sky Television spokesman Tony O’Brien said Sky would not reciprocate by making Prime available on Freeview, saying that was a separate issue and “not economic”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/2291754/Sky-customers-to-get-two-TVNZ-channels

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  36. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    I’ve blogged on this topic this morning and added some some *very* interesting quotes in the discussion forum thread from the TVNZ-6/7 webpages that seem to make a mockery of this decision to give Sky rebroadcasting rights.

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  37. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    aardvark, just picking up on the comment on your blog about how Sky does not generally pay domestic channels, and definitely not free to air ones.

    That’s been broadly true to date. Sky doesn’t pay TVNZ to carry TV1 and TV2 – Sky’s argument is that they’re delivering more eyeballs to TVNZ which translates directly into higher advertising income for TVNZ. It’s also Sky’s argument with people like the Food Channel and the Living Channel. It’s not a bad argument. And TVNZ has always known that given the better picture quality of Sky than analogue free-to-air that viewers have a strong preference to watch TV1/TV2 via Sky.

    But now that TVNZ has an arguably better quality picture available via Freeview, and Freeview uptake is growing fast (currently over 200,000 Freeview viewers vs 750,000 Sky viewers, and growing at 6x the rate of Sky) it won’t be long before TVNZ will be able to say … “Hey, we can afford to pull our content off your Sky satellite platform now. Nearly all the viewers that are important to us have access to Freeview, and it’s got better picture quality than your satellite service so they’re not losing anything if they watch us on our own platform.”

    At that point Sky is in a bind. They know that most of their viewers spend their time watching TV1, TV2 and TV3. They know that without having those channels available the whole customer proposition for Sky is seriously weakened. At that point TVNZ’s relative bargaining power with Sky has moved a long way.

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  38. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Higher advertising income?

    How come TVNZ says this on its website about the TVNZ6 channel:

    “TVNZ 6 is one of TVNZ’s new digital channels, and New Zealand’s first fully public service broadcasting channel, without advertising breaks.”

    How can you get more ad revenues when you don’t carry ads?

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  39. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    Yeah, I wonder how long TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 will carry on without advertising. Or, in other words, how long will the taxpayer pay for them.

    What I was referring to was more the question of Sky paying (or not) for carrying TV1, TV2 and TV3.

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  40. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    From the TVNZ website (again):

    “But Sky does not generally pay domestic channels, and definitely not free to air ones. “

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  41. niggly (799 comments) says:

    I’m with aardvark, coventry and virtualmark on this one.

    I am a Sky basic/movies subscriber and enjoy a handful of their channels but their product is way over priced for what it is, especially when you have to pay extra for Rialto, Arts etc, let alone Sports and so on – most of this content should be free with the basic subscription etc. Sky does not make programmes (apart from the occassional cheaply produced political discussion show on Sky News channel)- they of course import/buy programmes – so their overheads must be extremely low compared to TVNZ/TV3.

    The money they glean of subscribers is used of course to buy top notch sports rights, which TVNZ/TV3 can’t compete with.

    However it is a free market, no-one is forced to subscribe to Sky and if suckers (myself included) wish to pay them some $70/month, well, hey, then that’s just the way it is …. well maybe for now.

    I can see how TVNZ/TV3 are propping up Sky’s viewership and the reciprocal benefit of increased viewship thus advertising revenue for TVNZ/TV3. But it will be interesting to see what happens when there are many more TV’s with built-in Freevew in people’s homes (I have a TV with built-in Freeview, the quality is fanastic, esp when TVNZ/TV3 broadcast HD programmes). Anyone remember the music video saga from the mid-1980′s? For younger readers here, TVNZ used to broadcast music video shows regularly as they received them for free from the music corporates (as publicity for the latest release etc). Then the music corporates decided that TVNZ was benefiting from showing freely obtained music videos and they wanted to charge TVNZ for the “privilage”. A stand-off resulted where music video shows stopped being broadcast for a few months and an impasse was reached when TVNZ had to back down and pay the music corporates a fee etc. I suspect Sky will find themselves in the same boat one day in relation to obtaining for free at the moment, the rights to re-transmit TVNZ/TV3 etc.

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  42. Nil Einne (20 comments) says:

    [DPF: Why not just have all free to air channels available on all platforms?]

    Why should the other channels offer their channels for free over a commercial platform that is directly competing with the platform they are paying for? It’s a well accepted fact that one of Sky’s promotional advantages is the ability to get free to air channels in digital quality and in the convience of one box. Heck Sky even offered/offers a free to air box which you have to pay ‘rental’ for for the service. And they have their MySky which is a rather shitty DVR which gives you little control but nevertheless is competing with any products the free to air providers endorse. In other words, the free to air channels are giving Sky a key advantage, an advantage which help them to continue to dominate the NZ market. The situation is extremely unbalanced and TVNZ by giving TVNZ6 and 7 plus TV1 and TV2 in HD has made the situation worse. My only hope is that TVNZ at least demand that the HD channels be unencrypted. I haven’t heard yet whether this is the case. (6 and 7 don’t matter since they are already on Freeview satellite anyway but there’s no HD on satellite yet). And this highlights another problem. Not only are the free to air channels being made available on Sky for free but there’s no requirement that they actually be free to air i.e. unencrypted or available to everyone without payment. TVNZ at least demands this with TV1 and TV2 but for a long time TV3 and C4 were not available over satellite without paying Sky (of course you could argue this is their owner’s fault, a private company). Now that Freeview satellite is here it doesn’t matter but it still highlights the irony of the situation when you ask for free to air channels to be available over a competitor commercial platform for free where it will provide an advantage to the competitor and you don’t even ask that it actually be unencrypted. As I’ve mentioned my only hope is that TVNZ at least stuck to their guns and demanded the HD be free. If not, it just speaks again of the horribly unbalanced situation, and the sorry situation that I suspect was forced on TVNZ by the current government (I’m not saying the previous one was perfect in the broadcasting area but at least they did better then this). But whatever the deal is still terribly flawed. If TVNZ had at least demanded that Prime be available on Freeview it might be tolerable but they didn’t, I guess for a public company to dare demand something slightly approaching a fair deal from a monopolistic Aussie/American congolomerate is unacceptable to the current government.

    virtualmark: As aadvark has mentioned, your comments about advertising revenue doesn’t water when it comes to 6 and 7. Your comments on barganing power (The same for niggly) doesn’t either. TVNZ’s deal is to 2020! (I presume this includes the HD deal for TV1 and TV2 as well) Given the current situation, by 2020 we’d all be paying $500 to Sky/month for any TV since all free to all channels will be dead given the way things are going now. (Or perhaps we’ll have free to air but the only way to receive it will be by paying $200/month to Sky for a ‘free-to-air’ package. (If we’re lucky, perhaps the government will have realised that it’s unacceptable for people to pay $200/month and so would be paying Sky to make something available for free. That’s okay though Sky’s a private company nothing wrong with government subsiding them…) So no, TVNZ is not going to be able to demand a fee in the future because the future is 2020. Besides that, this deal has undermined the Freeview platform, IMHO there’s a strong risk TV3 will capitulate as well and any new channels of theirs are going to end up on Sky. So if anything TVNZ are likely to have less barganing power in the future.

    David: You and I don’t agree on most things I suspect but I think there’s one thing we do agree on, the need to support open standards on the internet. Did you know for some reason it’s sometimes impossible to log in with Firefox? When you log in you end up back at the comment page and you’re not logged in. Switching to IE7 solves the problem. I’m pretty sure it’s not a problem on my end because 1) I use Firefox for everything and rarely have a problem with other sites 2) It seems I’m not the only person, a quick Google comes up with http://sjdennis.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/kiwiblog-login/ I know this isn’t much to go on I tried a few things to try and work out when it happens but came up with nothing. Normally I might spend more time but as you may understand I’m not particularly interested in helping you make your blog work properly…

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  43. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    nil einne … I hadn’t seen that the TVNZ deal was to 2020. Thanks for pointing that out. Personally I’m surprised TVNZ would sign up for that long. There’s so many uncertainties in the media world at the moment that I can’t see why you’d want to commit to an 11 year horizon. 5 years maybe. But 11 years seems quite a lot of lock-in.

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