The Sky bashing continues

May 20th, 2012 at 10:07 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Commerce Commission is being urged to widen its investigation into Sky Television to include the pay-TV network’s dealings with taxpayer-funded national sport organisations.

Labour MP Clare Curran and former deputy prime minister Jim Anderton both expressed strong concern to the Sunday Star-Times about “rapacious” demands Sky enforces on sports bodies for coverage of their events, and its monopoly of the broadcast market.

The pair said Sky’s actions were undermining New Zealand’s ability to secure major international sporting events.

In recent years, Sky has begun demanding fees from national sports organisations to broadcast their events.

These can be as high as $100,000 to $200,000 per event with Sky telling sports administrators they are needed to pay for outside broadcast costs.

NSOs hoping to secure broadcasting fees from Sky for their events are becoming increasingly alarmed that their coverage is now coming at a cost, rather than as a revenue stream.

Well this is an easy solution. If an NSO thinks they are paying too much to get their event broadcast by Sky, they should ask TVNZ or TV3 to broadcast it for less money.

If none of them are willing to broadcast it for free, well then obviously there are not enough viewers for it.

Some may argue that Sky may have purchased exclusive rights to the event. But if they have, and they then do not broadcast it, they are pouring money down the drain. It is in their interest to make some money out of it by selling the rights to another broacaster.

Curran, Labour’s spokeswoman for broadcasting, wants the Commerce Commission’s investigation into Sky to include the sports deals.

Why? Just because something is not free, does not mean it is illegal.

Because TVNZ, TV3 and Maori TV don’t have the financial clout or broadcast facilities to compete with Sky, NSOs and sports event promoters have only one market player to negotiate with.

Nonsense. TVNZ absolutely have the broadcast facilities to compete. And this misses the point – if an event is uneconomic to broadcast, then it is not about financial clout.

The reality is that the costs of covering many sporting events do not cover the advertising or subscription revenue from broadcasting them. Perhaps Clare is suggesting taxpayers should spend money on broadcasting sporting events?

It’s understood Hockey New Zealand had to pay Sky a significant fee for coverage of the recent men’s Champions Trophy tournament in Auckland.

Probably because not that many people wanted to watch it.

Plus if sports bodies were smart they would embrace the Internet age. They could film their sporting events themselves, and live stream them for fans.

 

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22 Responses to “The Sky bashing continues”

  1. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    DPF, I think that is an excellent suggestion. I think that our politicians, like our sports bodies are trapped in old 20th Century think and broadcasting/business models. Embracing the internet age, filing the event themselves and live=streaming the event is the way to go, especially for the smaller codes.

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  2. elscorcho (154 comments) says:

    A couple points:
    1. Sky has a monopoly. Every good capitalist knows monopolies are bad for the economy! We need competition

    2. Live streaming. Seriously? What’s the resolution of livestreaming? It’s shitty. Sports DEMANDS HD. Sports cannot handle any interruptions. I will happily watch TV/movies via streaming because a little resolution loss or a hitch in the transmission isn’t a big deal, but I will not watch sport (unless I absolutely have to e.g. overseas sport that nobody in NZ carries)

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  3. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Plus if sports bodies were s,art they would embrace the Internet age. They could film their sporting events themselves, and live stream them for fans.

    Yep. The future in two sentences. Elscorcho: if live streaming isn’t in HD yet it soon will be. Might as well make use of this new fangled UFB somehow. And if the immediate alternative to the status quo is yet another taxpayer subsidy I’ll take non-HD any day.

    Also: it is hard to find any individual examples any where in the world, letalone a general rule, that competition regulators add value.

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  4. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Finding it hard to give a toss that even more tedious sport isn’t on TV.

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  5. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    elscorcho,

    Sky does not have a monopoly. At all. Your statement to the contrary is worse than misleading.

    As DPF noted, any of the other major players either has their own outdoor live broadcast facilities, or could contract those services if they wished. TVNZ, TV3 or Maori TV are potential options other than Sky.

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  6. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    DPF,

    Perhaps Curren will use a portion of her ‘Internet Tax’ to pay for broadcasting services for these NSOs…

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  7. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    I don”t have Sky – what am doing wrong ?
    PS. I do not embrace Sport so that’s pehaps the reason.
    Am a Superannuantant, so cannot afford – should I go to Winz and get Sky ?
    Typical rant by Anderton and Curren.

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  8. aitkenmike (94 comments) says:

    DPF – Oceania Football are doing exactly that. They pay the broadcast costs and set up a pay per view live stream on the net for things like Youth World Cup Qualifying, Nations Cup and Champions League games, plus make the rights available to Island Nations and Asian TV stations for a price. By all accounts it is a pretty high quality service as well.

    I’m glad Sky have the majority of sport on T.V., and I was even when I didn’t have sky. Free to air TV ruins sport, if not with ads then with shitty coverage, or not showing it live so as not to interrupt prime time TV shows. I still remember the last time TV 1 had the Chatham Cup final and cut in the middle of the penalty shoot out to go to the news!

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  9. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    I watch F1 in HD live streamed off the net with the proper commentators, not the shit BBC ones Sky NZ chooses to use as its cheaper, than the Sky UK F1 team.

    So it can be done reasonably easily and well.

    For the Champions trophy though, yes the NZ viewer numbers would have been poor, but the screening numbers in India, and other areas would have been huge, so Sky theoretically should have been able to sell the feed to broadcasters outside NZ for a reasonable sum. So in that instance I would have thought Sky’s actual costs would have been reasonably low.

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  10. DRHILL (121 comments) says:

    People forget TVNZ and TV3 have brought rights to various programs in the past only to stick them on at midnight with no advertising (e.g Carnivale, Alias, Supernatural, Fringe, Justified, Smallville, Invasion, The Tudors, Rome, League of Gentlemen, Breaking Bad, Red Dwarf – originally showed at Midnight on TV3!!!) At least with Sky, they put them on a proper time

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  11. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Sky dominates sports broadcasting to an extent it is a practical monopoly but they generally pay large amounts of dosh for the privilege.

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  12. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    Having Curran as spokesperson for broadcasting shows just how important Labour takes this issue.

    NZ on Air’s funding system is the same now as it was back under Clark. All of a sudden Curran has it in for NZ on Air and wants to make it something that better suits Labour.

    Because according to her:

    It is a fact that New Zealand culture is being steadily eroded by this government.

    She’ll destroy any concensus there is on public broadcasting if she gets her way.

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  13. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Hell if Curran and Anderton were showing true concern for their dumbo adherents they should be rabble rousing for FREE educational type programmes to get the losers off the couch instead of watching FREE sporting shit! :)

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  14. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Weird.

    I mean, when exactly did minor sports *not* have to pay for coverage?

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  15. Nookin (3,344 comments) says:

    Labour’s philosophy is to reduce everyone and everything down to the level of the lowest denominator. Then, no-one is better than anyone else. The problem is that everyone and everything is mediocre. The wonderful thing, for labour, is that no-one is a loser! Yeah right.

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  16. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    My problem is Sky is that it is basically state-funded. Beneficiaries should not be able to waste taxpayer money on getting new TV shows.

    Stop people on the dole, SB or other from getting Sky, and then Sky will have to start competing for customers who think before making an ongoing commitment of money.

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  17. elscorcho (154 comments) says:

    When I say Sky has a monopoly, I mean that nobody else in NZ shows MLB, NFL, European soccer live.

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  18. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    I note the caveats “it is understood” in front of Champions Trophy. Given it is the biggest hockey tournament behind Olympics and World Cup I am a little surprised that coverage had to be paid for – it would have had international broadcast rights with it surely.

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  19. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    I’ve watchted a Super 15 Rugby game on iSky on the desktop PC with 17 inch monitor and it was fine. As long as the supplier has distribution set up properly then live streaming or near livestreaming can work fine.

    The real issue is that Sport is the ‘killer ap’ for pay TV so IPTV is unlikely to attract many viewers until it can offer popular sport.

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  20. OneTrack (3,104 comments) says:

    “Perhaps Clare is suggesting taxpayers should spend money on broadcasting sporting events?” -I am sure that is exactly what she is suggesting, maybe even nationalizing sky if she gets enough support.

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  21. Scott B (23 comments) says:

    Broadcast is a much easier way to distribute content to really large numbers of people than live streaming. You need huge amount of bandwidth to run a live stream of a popular event.

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  22. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    You don’t get really large numbers watching TV7 or similar though!

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