Are the Sky negotiations being used as a pretext to save money?

July 22nd, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

The New Zealand Herald has withdrawn its reporting team from the Rio Olympics after failing to secure an agreement with Sky Television over use of Games footage on its news website.

NZME Managing Editor Shayne Currie today confirmed the Herald has informed the New Zealand Olympic Committee of its decision which follows similar action taken by Fairfax Media last night. Neither organisation will now send reporters, photographers and videographers to Rio but will still cover the Games.

Currie said “unduly restrictive” conditions imposed by Sky, who have purchased New Zealand broadcasting rights for the Games from the International Olympic Committee, had driven the decision.

“This has been a difficult decision but ultimately we cannot accept what we view as unduly restrictive and unnecessary News Access Rules as proposed by the New Zealand rights holder, Sky Television,” Currie said. “These do not allow for fair-use of copyright material in accordance with the New Zealand Copyright Act and have the potential to impact heavily on our ability to cover the Games in a fair and meaningful way.

“We also believe that they run counter to the Olympic charter. As a result, NZME Publishing – publisher of New Zealand’s biggest newspaper, the NZ Herald; one of the two largest New Zealand news websites,; and five regional daily newspapers – will no longer be sending a team of journalists to Rio.

“Through our syndicated agencies and partnerships, plus with our award-winning sports journalists in New Zealand, we will be doing our utmost to provide the best Games coverage possible.”

Fairfax confirmed a similar position with executive editor Sinead Boucher saying the conditions Sky had sought to impose around Games footage were “unprecedented”.

I feel sorry for the Fairfax and NZME sports journalists who won’t now get to cover the Olympics from Rio. The cynical side of me wonders if the Sky negotiations were used as a pretext so the soon to be combined company could save on the costs of having 20 journalists travel over there?

Happy happy joy joy

July 7th, 2014 at 11:50 am by David Farrar

Throng reports:

SKY’s brand new entertainment channel, THE ZONE, will have local fans of Science Fiction, Cult, Fantasy, Superhero and Horror genres battling for the remote.

Launching this November, THE ZONE’S line-up will include some of the planet’s most anticipated premiere series including Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain, Defiance featuring New Zealand’s own Grant Bowler and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, along with a mix of modern and classic series including drama and comedy, movies and the odd documentary.

THE ZONE, made right here by Kiwis for Kiwis (with the occasional Kiwi appearance too), will be available to all SKY’s domestic customers at no extra charge as part of SKY’s Basic package and will also stream live from launch on SKY GO, so fans won’t miss a minute of the action wherever they are.

Yay, yay, yay. I’ve campaigned (and lobbied) for some time for Sky to bring the Sci Fi channel to NZ. They’re gone even better, by producing a customised channel – and including it for free to the basic package. Hell, I would have paid for it.

THE ZONE has a fairly broad remit for acquiring programmes, our rule of thumb being that anything which could feasibly promote itself at Comic-Con has a place on the channel.

That’s a great rule of thumb.

I’m more excited about this, than I am about the election!

Sky coming to mobile devices

October 25th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Customers of pay TV giant Sky should be able to watch their favourite shows on their iPhone or iPads before Christmas, with other platforms to follow. …

At the company’s annual general meeting in Auckland this afternoon, Fellet announced that customers should have Sky content on their small screens by mid-December.

Fellet said he believed the “big screen in the living room will continue to dominate”, but recognised that few people these days left the house without a video-capable device. …

It had previously weighed up the option of launching a digital television service that would have broadcast Sky directly to mobile devices.

Fellet said the company had instead concluded that satellite technology and Ultra Fast Broadband would meet its future transmission needs.

Being able to watch Sky programmes on my iPad will be very useful. I prefer the big screen of course, but will be great when travelling to still be able to see my normal programmes easily.

Sky TV gets a competition warning

October 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sky TV has been issued with a warning that its contracts with telcos were likely to have previously harmed competition, says the Commerce Commission.

However, market developments mean those particular parts of the contracts are unlikely to have that effect now or cause harm in the future, says commission chair Mark Berry.

As such, the commission issued Sky a warning and said the pay-tv provider was on notice that the regulator would continue to monitor its contracts.

The Commission said it will take no further action right now over what it called “historical breaches”.

“We believe that Sky entered into historical agreements with RSPs [retail services providers] that had the purpose, effect, or likely effect of substantially lessening competition,” Berry said.

“However due to market developments, the key commitments Sky has with RSPs are unlikely to continue to have the same effect. For example the new sports pay TV product from Coliseum and the recent exemption granted by Sky to Telecom to market this product,” he said.

“As a consequence, a warning letter and notice that we will continue monitoring Sky’s contracts and conduct was the prudent course of action,” Berry said.

I’m very keen to see market developments that get us more competition and choice.

It also said Sky’s contracts with content providers were not likely to have breached the law.

“There appeared to be sufficient content of all types available outside of Sky’s exlusive contracts to put together an appealing pay TV package,” a statement from the commission said.

My preference is for contracts to be non-exclusive. By this I mean of course a contract for a TV series will exclude another TV channel showing that series – but they shouldn’t restrict other outlets such as DVDs or Quickflix from being able to offer the material in different mediums.

Labour have said:

Sky should consider itself extremely lucky today. The ruling is a cop out from the Commission. A monopoly as powerful as Sky should not be able to get away with uncompetitive behaviour. It is a kick in the guts to consumers.

“The Commission appears to have decided not to take any action because a case would cost too much and take too long. That’s not good enough. It should do its job as a regulator,” said Kris Faafoi.

I do wish Labour would think about the internal consistency of their public positions.

How can you argue that the Government should not second guess the Commerce Commission when it comes to copper broadband pricing, yet jump in yourself and claim they got it wrong in this case and should do what politicians say in this area.

Effectively Labour have now undermined their own arguments on the copper pricing issue. It’s an own goal, and an annoying one, because as people know I’m one of those saying leave the Commerce Commission process on copper pricing alone.

Sky and copyright and Netflix

October 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Eric Crampton blogs:

It seems that the lawyers at Sky didn’t like my post on Netflix. They’ve not been in touch with me about it, nor did they get in touch with the folks at SciBlogs about it when I syndicated it there.

But late last week, the National Business Review asked if they could run it as part of their Weekend Edition. I agreed, as I always do. Shortly after it went up at NBR, I received an email from NBR’s Head of Digital saying that they’d had to pull the piece after a legal threat from Sky TV. Sky’s lawyer wanted excised from the article the instructions on how to access Netflix from New Zealand. In my piece, I linked to an Australian website providing instructions on how to access Netflix. I also included a postscript noting that Hola seemed to work very well.

So it is there anything wrong with telling people how to get around geoblocking?

First, note that New Zealand generally allows “parallel importation”. The New Zealand Government, in general, does not think that it is its job to enforce whatever exclusive dealing arrangements that some overseas manufacturer wants to enter into with a domestic distributor. There is a minor exemption on DVDs and films where you cannot import films for commercial distribution for a period of five months from the date that the film is first made available to the public. This lets the theatres get a run where international windowing delays release here relative to the US. However, the ban specifically allows import of legitimate copies for personal non-commercial use. It would be reasonable to read accessing Netflix for personal use as falling into this category, though note that I am not a lawyer. I discussed the temporary ban here. …

But, by my read of 226b, the variety of mechanisms described at this Australian site simply work to circumvent a system controlling geographic market segmentation by preventing playback in New Zealand of a non-infringing copy of a work. Netflix’s catalogue of films and TV shows in the US is non-infringing in exactly the same way that a DVD on sale in the US is non-infringing. And buying a DVD there, bringing it here, and watching it on a region-free DVD player should be as protected as subscribing to Netflix via something like Hola or Unblock-us. Maybe it violates the Netflix terms of service in the US, and Netflix could be justified in cancelling somebody’s account if they deemed such use to be in violation of their Terms of Service. I expect that bringing a Region 1 DVD here and watching it on a region-free player might violate the DVD’s Terms of Service as well. But a take-down notice based simply on the use of the word Hola or a simple description stating that installing Hola was really easy? Again, I’m not a lawyer; hopefully I won’t have to consult one. I’ll rattle a tip-jar if I do and if it winds up being at all pricey.

Getting around geoblocking actually allows you to pay for a copyrighted work. I think we should resist all geoblocking. If you want less piracy, then allow us to buy the content we want.

Any lawyers have a view on whether Eric’s original blog post does fall foul of the Copyright Act?

Will Coliseum get the rugby?

August 16th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The internet-based broadcaster that snatched English Premier League football away from Sky is now eyeing the All Blacks.

This weekend Coliseum Sports Media will stream the first of 380 Premier League matches to subscribers.

CSM chief executive Tim Martin said he could not reveal the number of PremierLeaguePass subscriptions, which start at $149.90, sold so far, but interest had “ramped up massively” this week.

“You don’t know how the sales curve is really going to shape because we haven’t done this before … we are well into the thousands, well into, and that is tremendously encouraging.”

He confirmed Coliseum is eyeing a much bigger scrap with Sky – contesting the rights to the All Blacks and Super 15 when they come up in 2015.

Although there had been no concrete discussions, Mr Martin said he had met with New Zealand Rugby bosses. He acknowledged they had a strong relationship with Sky, but an eventual play for rugby was realistic.

Yesterday Sky’s director of sport Richard Last said it was committed to holding on to rugby rights.

“There is always a competitive marketplace … I don’t think there is any piece of content that is an absolute slam-dunk must-have, because you have to run a business.

“Obviously everybody who is interested in television in New Zealand would be interested in rugby. Winning the rights is easy – you just pay more than the person with the highest bid.”

Excellent news. Competition for sporting rights is good for the sports, and I believe good for viewers also. It is quite exciting to see video on demand emerging as an alternative to traditional television.

Sports on TV

July 5th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reported yesterday:

Sport broadcasting in New Zealand continues to fracture with MotoGP shifting to free-to-air television.

The New Zealand broadcast rights for the rest of the 2013 MotoGP motorcycle racing season have been secured by Sommet Sports TV.

The new Freeview outfit, whose channel is provisionally up and running but set to launch officially in 10 days, will offer live coverage of the 2013 MotoGP series and highlights programmes.

The development confirms a second sporting asset has been wrested from Sky Television, 16 days after the subscription giant dramatically lost the New Zealand broadcast rights for the English Premier League football to previously unknown group Coliseum Sports Media.

Also Telecom announced yesterday:


• Telecom the official Telecommunications & ICT Partner for
• All 50GB broadband plans upgraded to 80GB at no extra cost – means fans can view more content, including BEPL

Football fans who are customers of the country’s biggest broadband provider Telecom New Zealand will be offered some of the most affordable access rates to the Barclays (English) Premier League (BEPL) via its nationwide broadband network and 

Telecom is offering existing broadband customers a 15 per cent discount1 on the ‘Season Pass’, and they can also go in to a draw to win one of 1,000 free ‘Season’ passes. 

New Telecom broadband2 customers signing up for the mid-range plans on a 12 month contract can choose a free ‘Season Pass’ with access to all 380 live games available from

It’s great to see both greater competition in securing “broadcast” rights, but also the business model changing more towards online access so you can watch them at your convenience – not just when a broadcaster decides to show them.

A few people have been demanding that the Government must step in and regulate Sky Television, because they have been so successful at securing good content. I think the  announcements of the last fortnight show how misguided those calls were – in fact they seem like tall poppy syndrome. Regulation should be a last resort – not a first resort.

I’m a very happy Sky customer, but I’m delighted other providers are winning some rights against them. Competition makes companies stronger – and benefits the consumer.

By coincidence I’m co-facilitating a session next Wednesday at Nethui which will be discussing where video on demand is going, and what the future may look like in a few years. I think it is a hugely exciting area. We’ll have most of the broadcasters there, plus other providers like Quickflix. Will hopefully be a great discussion.

It’s all Sky’s fault!

June 17th, 2013 at 5:11 pm by David Farrar

Clare Curran released:

The Government’s refusal to break the stranglehold of pay-TV company Sky on the media market has contributed to the position MediaWorks finds itself in today, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.

This is bizarre. Clare seems to have a fetish against Sky TV. It seems they are responsible for everything bad in broadcasting (despite keeping Backbenches on the air) and somehow are magically responsible for Mediaworks taking on too much debt.

TVNZ has remained profitable, so blaming the receivership of Mediaworks on Sky TV is ridiculous, and scapegoating. In fact their problems are long-standing around their level of debt.

“Instead of throwing a $43 million loan at MediaWorks three years ago to bail them out of a short term sticky situation, the Government should have done what most other countries do and free up the market to enable free to air television to compete with pay-television.

I’ve never heard of a loan with commercial interest rates (now repaid) being referred to as throwing money away before.

And by “free up the market”, I presume the actual intent is to regulate against Sky for being too successful!

I notice Clare’s press release is not on the Labour website. Does her statement speak on behalf of the Labour Party? Do they also believe that Sky TV is responsible for Mediaworks having too much debt?

Sci Fi Channel?

March 9th, 2013 at 7:32 am by David Farrar

Chris Keall at NBR reports:

What I’m talking about is an actual William Shatner moment. 

Sky TV is bringing the Star Trek star to Auckland later this month.

I’m thinking the event must be the launch of the sci fi channel that unemployed Wellington man Pat Pilcher has pushed so hard for (and, earlier, Sky TV CEO John Fellet told NBR ONLINE a sci fi channel was number two on his list, after Soho).

If the speculation is correct, that would be great news. I will happily pay for the Sci Fi channel.

Cricket and criticism

December 23rd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

John Weekes at HoS reports:

Sky’s cricket commentators have been told they must be nice to the Black Caps and are not to regurgitate their off-field dramas.

The controversy surrounding the sacking of captain Ross Taylor has fired up debate for the summer game but fans expecting Sky commentators to weigh in will be waiting a long time, the company says.

“We don’t put down sporting codes because we’re in the business of promoting sport,” Sky spokeswoman Kirsty Way said.

Sky and New Zealand Cricket had a business partnership, she said. “It’s natural for our commentators to promote our product.”

Cricket is just a product?

Former New Zealand cricketer and commentator John “Mystery” Morrison said Sky’s policy was “pathetic”. “The day that people don’t debate and argue these issues will be a sad day for the game,” he said.

He said commentators should be allowed to voice their passion and interest and scrutinise the game.

I tend to agree with John.

Sure you don’t want the commentators sledging NZ Cricket between ever over, declaring how much better the team would be playing if it were not for the wallies who did xyz.

But the recent happenings shouldn’t be taboo, and if relevant to the game, commentators should be able to mention them.

Also I hope that the fact NZ Cricket are a business partner doesn’t mean the news and sports shows are instructed to not talk about their problems. I can understand the actual game commentary being a bit sensitive, but the daily news and sports shows should have no restrictions.

Throng on Igloo

December 10th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Regan Cunliffe blogs at Throng:

On monday, Sky and TVNZ launched their hardly anticipated new subscription television service.

Here’s our list of reasons why it shouldn’t be under your tree this Christmas or anywhere else in your house for that matter.

10. It’s probably still broken.  

The custom built platform was supposed to be launched months ago but has been delayed due to “technical problems”.  Is the launch simply exploitation of the spending season or a Christmas miracle?

9. TVNZ are involved.

Remember when TVNZ said “TiVo transforms television“? How are all those customers feeling today?  How long before Igloo too melts down?

8. A comparable Freeview box is less than half the price.

There are a number of basic models of DVB-T receivers which also have the ability to record to a connected USB storage device.

7. Sport is ultra-expensive.

The base “30 day channel pack” plus purchasing every Super XV match The Chiefs play during that period would cost you up to $99.74. On Sky this would cost $72.46 and include more channels, every Super XV game and a lot more sports besides.

6. Paying for content that used to be free.

Two of the eleven Igloo channels feature content that TVNZ used to broadcast for free:  Kidzone24 and TVNZ Heartland.

5. All Igloo content is Standard Definition.

The only content that you’ll be able to view in High Definition is from any of the free-to-air channels that broadcast in HD.  All of the extra content you’re paying for is delivered in standard definition.  This includes movies and sport.

4. High per channel price.

The “Sky Basic” package costs approximately $1.36 per premium channel compared with $2.27 per premium channel on Igloo.

3. Igloo is not a middle option.

Currently, a new 12 month “Sky Basic” package (~63 channels) with 3 months free sport and SoHo and free installation costs $553.44.

A new Igloo box (~34 channels) which you install yourself and a 12 month subscription costs $478.05

A new Freeview box (~29 channels) which you install yourself costs from $99.

2. Two thirds of the channels you can already watch for free.

That’s right.  They’re already free.  And also the most watched.

1. You’re not an Eskimo.

They’re the only ones who should have an igloo.

Those are our top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t get igloo and now we want yours.  We’ve got a brand new Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder (BDE-8500) worth $649 to give away.

In addition, if anyone reposts this on their own blog, we’ll include any comments made there in the draw. Have at it.

So if you comment below on Kiwiblog why you think people shouldn’t get Igloo, you can win a Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder!

Sky saves another channel

November 24th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

William Mace at the Dom Post reports:

Sky Television is to host a new public service channel on its airwaves after striking a deal with Stratos Television founder Jim Blackman.

The channel, Face TV, will beam local and international news and current affairs on Sky’s channel 89 from the beginning of February. …

Sky has given the channel spectrum to Blackman in order to make Face TV viable. He hoped regional broadcasters would see it as a complement to their operations.

He had not yet approached them to sign up to the channel, but his Auckland-based Triangle TV channel would be the basis for Face TV’s schedule.

Blackman said Face TV was different to Stratos and Triangle because it would have more of a public service focus, although the exact programming schedule was not yet decided.

“I believe it will have much more of a public service focus – we’re aiming to increase the amount of local news and current affairs we do, we want to involve the community and the regions more, and get a much more reflective view of broadcasting both in New Zealand and overseas,” he said.

I used to enjoy some of the Stratos content, so am looking forward to it.


Backbenches to return in 2013

September 13th, 2012 at 9:09 am by David Farrar

Sky TV has announced that Backbenches will return in 2013. It will be primarily funded by NZ on Air, part-funded by Sky, produced by TVNZ, broadcast live on Wednesday evenings by Prime TV and shown delayed on TVNZ Heartland channel.

A great collaborative effort, which should mean it is seen by far more people than was the case on TVNZ7.

Funding at this stage is for 20 one hour shows.

As I said when Backbenches finished on TVNZ7, I’ve been a big fan of the show. However there are some format changes they should consider to make it better when it relaunches.

Backbenches funded by NZ on Air

August 14th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Back Benches looks set to live on after the demise of TVNZ7 with NZ On Air committing funding “in principle” to the programme running on Prime.

NZ On Air spokeswoman Gina Rogers said the agency was having talks with Prime about its financial contribution to the show.

It also wanted a shorter season than the planned 50-episode series for next year. Parliament sits for only 30-odd weeks a year, but Back Benches does a New Zealand summer tour.

Ms Rogers said NZ On Air wanted to see Back Benches work. “We’d be really excited about its return.”

I’m very pleased with this. Good on Sky TV for agreeing to broadcast it, and NZ on Air for funding it.

On Prime TV, which is free to air, it will have the potential to get a much bigger audience than it had on TVNZ7.

This shows that public broadcasting is not dependent on TVNZ7 – a channel which had minsicule ratings for most programmes. The NZ on Air model allows local broadcasting to be funded across all broadcasters.

TVNZ7 was a failed experiment. TVNZ can not be both a commercial and a public service broadcaster.

Personally I would sell TVNZ and use the capital to set up a proper public service broadcaster, combined with Radio NZ. But the operating costs of that could be too high in our fiscal times, so for now the NZ on Air model is working well.

Will Backbenches be saved?

July 6th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

John Drinnan writes at NZ Herald:

Plans for TVNZ to make Back Benches for Prime TV will deliver good public relations results all round and a pleasing result for the show’s loyal audience.

The politics programme, which is one of the last vestiges of television in Wellington, has screened on TVNZ 7 until it was discontinued last week.

It does not fit with TVNZ’s aims of making profit at all costs, so TVNZ is not interested in picking up the niche-interest show for TV One.

Prime TV is prepared to run a weekly 10.30pm show – a time when it should not be too encumbered with advertising.

So now TVNZ, which owns the intellectual property, has sought taxpayer funding from New Zealand On Air to make the show in-house and sell it to Prime.

This is a win-win-win. Worthy souls will applaud the survival of Back Benches. TVNZ and New Zealand On Air will do something to keep the legacy alive.

NZ on Air has to agree to the funding request, but I certainly hope they do.

As I understand it the bid is a co-operative exercise between TVNZ and Sky, and it would probably also show on a TVNZ channel at a delayed time spot.

The good thing is this bid, if successful, will open up viewership to a potentially much larger audience than TVNZ7 had.

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.


Unhappy Sky customers

April 3rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Some very unhappy Sky customers last night. Thousands had paid $20 for the biggest wrestling pay per view of the year, and they cut it off with half an hour to go on the main event. As of last night they were not offering refunds on the basis there was a replay at midnight.

It seems Sky under-estimated how long it would last. Then as people complained, it is alleged they started deleting comments off Sky’s Facebook page. That is a silly thing to do, if correct.

One reader took the day off work to be able to watch it, and is very unhappy there is no refund. Watching it later is not the same as watching it live – people paid the $20 to be able to watch it live. If one was watching it on the actual channel then they may have seen the last half hour, but if like most you are watching it on the PVR with a small time delay so you can fast forward breaks etc, then you missed out on the last 30 minutes.

Campaign 11 tonight on Sky News

October 30th, 2011 at 5:24 pm by David Farrar

A reminder that “Campaign 11″ starts tonight at 8.30 pm on Sky News. It will also replay on Prime TV.

Barry Soper moderates a minor party leader’s debate with:

  • ACT Leader Don Brash
  • United Future Leader Peter Dunne
  • Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia
  • Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira
  • Green co-leader Russel Norman

The panel asking questions is Chris Trotter, myself and television reporter Ngahuia Wade.

There will be four sections to the debate, focusing on:

  1. Economy
  2. Environment
  3. Maori
  4. Coalitions

The programme will run for an hour.

Campaign 2011 on Sky

October 28th, 2011 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

“Campaign 2011” starts on Sunday at 8.30 pm on Sky News.

Barry Soper moderates a minor party leader’s debate with:

  • ACT Leader Don Brash
  • United Future Leader Peter Dunne
  • Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia
  • Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira
  • Green co-leader Russel Norman

The panel asking questions is Chris Trotter, myself and television reporter Ngahuia Wade.

Sky on iPad

April 27th, 2011 at 3:29 pm by David Farrar

Have just downloaded the Sky TV app for the iPad and can see me using it a lot.

The basic app is that it allows you to see the programme guide for the next week, in an easy to follow format. But the real killer part is that once you enter in your account details you can set your My Sky box to record programmes from your iPad.

So you no longer need to be at home to record things. You might be at a friend’s place and see a programme that you want to record. Hit your iPad and it will be recording within seconds back home.

If you forgot to set it in the mornng to record something, you can do it at any stage during the day.

I wil be using this app a lot.


October 22nd, 2010 at 3:44 pm by David Farrar
  1. Go to watch my favourite programmes and find that the MySky decoder has had a record failure for the last day.
  2. Reboot the decoder, and then it comes up with updating listings and freezes there
  3. Reboot again and comes up with atmospheric conditions are interfering
  4. Ring Sky
  5. Sky tell me to reboot decoder – despite having already done it. No change
  6. They then say that perhaps the frequency the decoder is on is wrong and give me the code to change it. Do so but no fix.
  7. They then say they will send a technician out
  8. The next day they call to say that there have been several calls from our apartment block so probably a fault with our building aerial.
  9. Local company checks it out, and finds the power supply to the aerial has died. replaces it.
  10. Everyone else in building gets Sky back but me.
  11. Am stuck between sky saying it was a building fault and the body corporate saying it has now been fixed. Now been four days with no TV or Sky. Try rebooting decoder several more times.
  12. Finally decide will have to pay out of own pocket for a technician and ring one up. He confirms that there is no fault at the building end.
  13. I prepare to ring Sky again, but luckily mention to him that their previous advice had been to change the frequency. He rants about how they are morons and they should never ever advice customers to do that – there is one setting for commercial premises and one for residential and should never swap them.
  14. Luckily he knows the code to change the frequency (or whatever its technical name was) and yes hey presto after four days I have television again.

The moral of the story is the next time Sky stops working, do not ring Sky for help!

I want my comedy!

October 7th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Both the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are no longer available on Sky, on the NZ Comedy Central channel.


I don’t know who made the decision, but I’d like to shoot them. Both those shows were on my daily record series.

If you want to help push for their return, you can join the Facebook Group asking for that.

And people wonder why people use bit torrent? I pay almost $100/month to Sky so I can legally view overseas content such as the Daily Show. Take away my only legal way of viewing it, and well what a great incentive you give me.


September 6th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Sky Television chief executive John Fellet says he hopes Sky can persuade at least three or four internet providers not to charge customers to download programmes and movies from its soon-to-be-launched internet television service, iSky.

If Sky makes the material available on servers which are open for peering, then that should allow NZ ISPs to exempt them from data caps.

Mr Fellet revealed a few more details of the service, which he said would launch in mid-November and would be free to Sky customers who had signed up to the equivalent pay-TV channels.

Sky will stream three sports channels and a selection of news channels. Subscribers will also be able to download 200 movies to watch at any time from a catalogue that will change each month, and catch up on movies and many programmes they may have missed on Prime and other “basic” Sky channels.

Great, I look forward to this.

One industry source said iSky put internet providers in a quandary. Sky was being “hard-nosed” and there was little in it collectively for internet providers to offer iSky unmetered, though some ISPs might steal a march on rivals by doing so, given Sky’s hold over key broadcast content.

Vodafone and Orcon are among those believed to be considering letting customers access iSky without that contributing to their monthly broadband data caps. Orcon spokesman Duncan Blair confirmed it was in discussions.

Vodafone doing so, would help keep me as a customer. Their e-mail quality has been crap lately, so we need some sweeteners!

Sky has this time spent about $4m so it can host the content on its own computers in New Zealand. That means internet providers will not need to pay for capacity on the Southern Cross cable to serve up programmes to customers, making the option of unmetered downloads more viable.

Mr Fellet said that, initially, Sky would only directly profit from iSky by also serving up pay-per-view movies for viewing on computers. It would not sell its “adult” pay-per-view programmes online, at least at first, he said. That business was “slowly dying anyway” as a result of the preponderance of free pornography on the internet.

No wonder the Ministerial credit card expenses have been dropping 🙂

Sky vs Reven

April 7th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I was a big champion of how TVNZ should make their free to air channels viewable on Sky boxes. It took a while, but you can now get TVNZ6 and 7 on Sky, which is great.

Sadly Sky do not seem to be reciprocating in the spirit of open access to the episode programme guide for their own channels.

Over at Geekzone Reven explains:

i just receieved a take down order from sky.

was wondering if anyone has any legal expertise?

not sure how much of a case they have, since
– i dont host any epg data
– sky isnt even used as a source for xmltvnz

What this is about is the application designed by Reven reads programme guide data from TV websites, so that users of home theatre PC’s can have an electronic tv guides built in to their systems.

If people want to use their own PCs as an electronic TV guide they should be able to.

In the US and Australia, courts have ruled EPG data is in the public domain. But the small guy probably can’t afford a lawsuit from Sky.

Sky produce a great product in My Sky, and great channels. But if someone wishes to subscribe to their channels, but use their own electronic EPG, they should be able to.

Sky online

June 30th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Pay television giant Sky is planning to hit the pause button on its Sky Online site, saying the service does not make sense in the current New Zealand broadband market.

Fellet said: “We did this to make subscribers feel better about our service but it has not been a great viewer experience.”

Viewers were using up their broadband capacity and then becoming unhappy with Sky when they passed data limits and their internet service provider (ISP) dropped them back to dial-up speeds.

I agree such a service will be greatly limited by data caps. But assuming Sky hosts its content locally, and hosts it in a site that peers with the major ISPs, I would have hoped that such local traffic could be excluded from data caps. It is the international bandwidth that is the big problem.

TVNZ was the first broadcaster in Australasia to launch a full online catch-up service and nearly all of of its prime-time shows are available through this service. Each week nearly 250,000 New Zealanders stream 1.5 million shows to their homes, Paris says.

Some TVNZ traffic has been through a relationship with the state-owned ISP Orcon, which has allowed its subscribers to access the TVNZ ondemand website without affecting data caps.

Orcon executive Scott Bartlett said data caps remained an impediment partly because there was only one “pipeline” from New Zealand allowing internet traffic from the United States – the source of a lot of internet traffic.

He said there were also issues over Telecom charges for data transfers.

This is why peering locally is so important. People should be able to download locally without it affecting their data cap.