Split Sky!?!

It’s been missed in the fuss over the budget, but TVNZ have asked the goverment to split their compeditor, Sky TV, in half.

In a submission to be made public today, TVNZ calls for strict regulations to limit Sky’s growing dominance over free-to-air broadcasters, with sports fans now paying more than $14 a week to watch major sports events live.

TVNZ’s submission to the Culture and Heritage Ministry, which is reviewing broadcasting regulation, says sport is critical to the national identity and Sky has a virtual monopoly on coverage.

With a Sky TV sports subscription costing $64 a month, or $768 annually, “many New Zealanders are effectively paying a sports tax”, the submission says.

The public broadcaster wants marketplace rules introduced “to create a fair and level playing field for all”.

It suggests Sky be split into at least two businesses, one to make and buy programmes, the other to manage Sky’s satellite transmission network and set-tops boxes.

This is disgusting for multiple reasons.

1. Sky started and built it’s own business from the ground up. They had a good business model, and have given the customers what they want and have thus succeeded. They worked hard*, took the risks, and succeeded. They could easily have lost millions in this country had their hard work failed.

TVNZ on the other hand was built by the state, without competition for many years. Now they don’t like that competition and want state intervention again.

2. Perhaps they got an idea from what happened with Telecom? But this is nothing like Telecom. Telecom was a state monopoly, but was badly privitised. It has a massive hold on the phones of New Zealand. TVNZ is the former state monolopy here! They should be split to create a fair playing field.

3. What’s all this about “fair” anyway? Since when do failed business models get subsidised by the taxpayer? Warning bells always go off when I hear someone talking about “fair”. Too often they’re asking for something they don’t deserve.

4.  “The submission calls for rules to stop Sky buying exclusive rights to events of “national importance”.” Oh yes, coverage of Super 14 is now a strategic national asset.

(I guess that means we can sell it to the Chinese, but not Canadians.)

*You’ve got to pity the sales men who have rung me from time to time, it’s a job that’s far from easy. 😉


  1. Regretfully Sky was allowed to grow without regulation in place to protect the interests of the public. Australia and many other countries have regulations controlling what must be free to view. After all why should the general public put up $90,000,000.00 a year in to sport through Sparc for sky to reap all the benefit., Surely with that investment we are entitled to a return on our investment and we should adopted similar rules as Australia where all national teams competitions must be carried on free to air TV.

    Sky with it’s deep pockets brought about by it’s over charging for it’s subscription fees has cause a doubling of program cost to the other TV networks. That’s a cost we all end up paying.

  2. See my comment on this matter here and the relevant article in the Dominion Post referenced in my post.
    Your post is right on the button, TVNZ cannot foot it with the competition.

    Regrading the comment above, Sky puts some $40 million a year into rugby rights, money we do not have to as taxpayers.

    Note the comments made by Botherway in his article about how many events are ignored by FTA in Australia

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