Sky Network Television


Sky Network Television
Sky Network Television
Type Public (NZX: SKT)
Industry Subscription Television
DVD Rental
Broadcasting
Founded 1987
Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand
Key people John Fellet, CEO
Peter Macourt, Chairman
Products Sky Television
Fatso
Revenue increase NZ$796.9 million (2011)
Operating income increase NZ$321.7 million (2011)
Profit increase NZ$120.3 million (2011)
Total assets increase NZ$1.9 billion (2011)
Total equity increase NZ$1.3 billion (2011)
Website sky.co.nz

Sky Network Television Limited (ASXSKT; NZX: SKT), (often stylised SKY), is a New Zealand pay television service. On 30 June 2011, Sky had 829,421 subscribers, which comprises:

  • 808,617 digital subscribers
  • 20,840 other subscribers

All up, Sky was in 50.5% of New Zealand homes, making it the largest television platform in New Zealand.

Contents

History

Founded by Terry Jarvis, Craig Heatley, Trevor Farmer and Alan Gibbs in 1987 as Sky Media Limited.

Sky Media Limited originally formed to investigate the possibility of beaming sports programming into clubs and pubs using high performance 4 metre satellite dishes by Jarvis and an engineering associate Brian Green but was redirected into pay television following successful bidding in 1990 for four groups of UHF frequencies in the Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga regions.

The first Sky subscriber was former Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives Jonathan Hunt, according to Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Sky rapidly won long term rights from US sports network ESPN (which became a 1% shareholder) as well as CNN and HBO providing it with a supply of sports, news and movies for three channels: Sky Sport, Sky News (a mix of CNN International and BBC bulletins) and Sky Movies (later renamed HBO, before reverting to its original name.)

Initially only operating in the Auckland region Sky contracted Broadcast Communications to provide the broadcast service and transmission from its Panorama Road studios formerly owned by defunct broadcaster Northern Television.

Later, as funding allowed Sky extended its coverage throughout most of New Zealand, in 1994, Sky launched two further channels, Discovery and Orange. The company expanded to Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Southland and Otago, follow by the Wairarapa, Taupo and Wanganui regions in 1995. Its final UHF expansion, in 1996, was to Taranaki, Whangarei and eastern Bay of Plenty.

In April 1997, Sky introduced a nationwide analogue direct broadcasting via satellite (DBS) service over the Optus B1 satellite. The DBS services gave Sky the opportunity to offer its customers more channels and interactive options. It upgraded it to a digital service in December 1998.

The concept of a pay television service was new to New Zealand and Sky had early problems. These included viewer acceptance of subscriber television. It faced difficulty in educating retailers and customers on the use of the original decoders. However, this problem was eased with the introduction of easier-to-use decoders that allowed greater viewer flexibility.

Channels that are no longer carried by Sky TV include Granada UKTV, Hallmark Channel, TVSN, HBO (renamed Sky Movies) and Property TV. A SkyMail email service was also featured for a time, but was later pulled due to lack of interest, (including the wireless keyboards they had produced for it).

Purchase of Prime Television

In November 2005, Sky announced it had purchased the free-to-air channel Prime Television for NZ$30 million. Sky uses Prime to promote its pay content and to show delayed sports coverage. New Zealand's Commerce Commission issued clearance for the purchase on 8 February 2006.[1]

Satellite Upgrade

The unreliability of the ageing Optus B1 satellite was highlighted when the direct broadcasting satellite (DBS) service went offline just before 7p.m. NZST (8 a.m. London, 3 a.m. New York) on 30 March 2006. The interruption affected service to over 550,000 customers and caused many decoders to advise customers of "rain fade." Due to excessive volume of calls to the Sky toll-free helpdesk Sky posted update messages on their website advising customers that they were working with Optus to restore service by midnight. SKY credited customers with one day's subscription fees as compensation for the downtime at a cost to the company of NZ$ 1.5 million. Sky switched its DBS service to the Optus D1 satellite on 15 November 2006. It later expanded its transponder capacity on this satellite to allow for extra channels and HD broadcasts.

UHF shutdown

Sky has recently switched off their UHF service. All of its analogue UHF pay TV networks shut down on 11 March 2010 at midnight.[2]

They plan to hand their UHF and radio spectrum back to the Government and trade them for digital terrestrial bandwidth.[3]

Products and services

Television

Channels Available

Sky Network Television Logo.svg Channel Name Subscription package Widescreen Notes
000 Preview Basic Yes
001 TV ONE Basic Yes Free-to-air
002 TV2 Basic Yes Free-to-air
003 TV3 Basic Yes Free-to-air
004 Prime Basic Yes Free-to-air
005 The BOX Basic Yes
006 UKTV Basic Yes
007 Vibe Basic Yes
008 Living Basic Yes
009 Food Television Basic Yes
010 SoHo Extra Channel Yes
011 E! Basic Yes
012 FOUR Basic Yes Free-to-air
014 MTV Basic Yes
015 Comedy Central Basic Yes
016 U Basic Yes
017 TVNZ Heartland Basic Yes
019 Māori Television Basic Yes Free-to-air
020 SKY Movies Sky Movies Yes
021 SKY Movies 2 Sky Movies Yes
022 Sky Movies Greats Sky Movies Yes
023 MGM Sky Movies Yes
024 TCM Sky Movies Yes
025 Rialto Channel Extra Channel
(also Platinum Movies)
Yes
028 Preview Basic Yes
029 Upgrade Channel Basic Yes An interactive service that allows the viewer to upgrade their channel subscription
333 Sport Mosaic Sky Sport Yes
030 SKY Sport 1 Sky Sport Yes
031 SKY Sport 2 Sky Sport Yes
032 SKY Sport 3 Sky Sport Yes
033 SKY Sport Highlights Sky Sport Yes
034 ESPN Sky Sport Yes
035 TAB TV Basic Yes
036 Trackside Basic Yes Free-to-air
037 The Rugby Channel Platinum Sport Yes
038 SKY ARENA PPV Yes Sport PPV service
039 SKY ARENA HD PPV Yes Sport PPV service HD
040 Disney Channel Basic Yes
041 Nickelodeon Basic Yes
042 Cartoon Network Basic Yes
044 Nick Jr. Basic No
045 Disney Junior Basic Yes
046 TVNZ Kidzone24 Basic Yes
050 Playin' TV Extra Channel No Interactive games channel
051 MindGames Extra Channel No Interactive quiz channel
059 Te Reo Basic Yes Free-to-air
060 MTV Hits Basic Yes Starts 1 December 2011
061 MTV Classic Basic Yes
062 Juice TV Basic Yes
063 63 Basic Yes
070 Discovery Channel Basic Yes
071 CI Basic Yes
072 National Geographic Channel Basic Yes
073 History Basic Yes
074 BBC Knowledge Basic Yes
075 Animal Planet Basic Yes
076 Travel Channel Basic Yes
077 TVNZ 7 Basic Yes Free-to-air
079 The Arts Channel Extra Channel Yes
089 Triangle STRATOS Basic No Free-to-air
090 Sky News Basic Yes
091 CNN Basic No
092 Fox News Basic Yes
093 BBC World News Basic Yes
094 Parliament TV Basic Yes Free-to-air
095 CNBC Basic No
096 RT Basic No
098 Weather Channel Basic No Interactive weather channel
099 Country 99 TV Extra Channel Yes
100 France 24 English Basic Yes
101 France 24 Francais Extra Channel Yes
110 CUE Basic Yes Free-to-air
111 Shine TV Basic Yes Free-to-air
112 Daystar Basic No
201-216 Sky Box Office Movies PPV Yes A group of pay-per-view movie channels
217 Playboy TV PPV Yes Pay-per-view
218 Adult Channel PPV Yes Pay-per-view
219 Spice: Xcess PPV Yes Pay-per-view
300-309 World TV World TV No A group of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese channels
310 CCTV-9 Basic No
315 STAR Plus Hindi Extra Channel No
319 Preview Basic Yes

HD Channels

The following channels are available in High Definition for My Sky HDi and My Sky + subscribers:

Myskypluslogo.png Channel Name Subscription package Notes
001 TV One HD Basic Video guard encryption (Sky Subscribers only)
002 TV2 HD Basic Video guard encryption (Sky Subscribers only)
003 TV3 HD Basic Video guard encryption (Sky Subscribers only)
010 SoHo SoHo subscription & HD Ticket
020 Sky Movies HD Sky Movies & HD Ticket
022 Sky Movies Greats HD Sky Movies & HD Ticket
030 Sky Sport 1 HD Sky Sport & HD Ticket
031 Sky Sport 2 HD Sky Sport & HD Ticket
032 Sky Sport 3 HD Sky Sport & HD Ticket
034 ESPN HD Sky Sport & HD Ticket
038 SKY ARENA HD Sport PPV service & HD Ticket

Radio Stations

Sky Network Television Logo.svg Channel Name Subscription package Notes
311 Real Good Life Basic Chinese
312 New Supremo Basic Chinese
313 FM 104.2 Basic Chinese
400-413 Sky Digital Music Sky Digital Music A group of digital music channels
500 The Edge Basic
501 Radio New Zealand National Basic
502 Radio New Zealand Concert Basic
505 Tahu FM Basic
506 Calvary Chapel Radio Basic

Interactive Services:

  • SkyBet - interactive sports betting service.
  • Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) - Television listing information
  • Playin TV Games - video games.
  • MindGames - challenging video games.
  • Weather Channel - interactive weather maps and information.

Digital video recorders

My Sky

In December 2005, Sky released its own Digital Video Recorder (DVR), which essentially is an upgraded set top box similar to Foxtel IQ in Australia or TiVo in the U.S.. Called My Sky, it offers viewers the ability to pause live television, rewind television, record up to two channels at once straight to the set top box and watch the start of a recorded programme while still recording the end. It also gives viewers access to a revamped Guide and the new Planner, used to plan and access recordings at the touch of a button. However the PVR box remains the property of SKY Television.

One of the advertised features of My Sky is the ability of the system to record series of programs using the "Series Link" feature. But this has proven to be somewhat unreliable in that on occasions, intended future recordings are not made. This has occurred since the inception of the service. Sky TV say they are working to determine the cause of the random failures, and to rectify it. Soft rebooting the decoder appears to temporarily overcome the problem.

There was software in My Sky that after an hour of no signal from Sky then the decoder locks playback of pre-recorded programmes. This was discovered after the Optus B1 satellite was unable to broadcast Sky to over 600,000 subscribers.

This generation of box was replaced by My Sky HDi when it launched on 1 July 2008.

My Sky HDi
The My Sky HDi logo
The My Sky HDi decoder and remote control

On 1 July 2008, a service called My Sky HDi was launched, and is the successor to the My Sky service released in 2006. The HD channels available are Sky Movies, Sky Movies Greats, Sky Sport 1, Sky Sport 2, as well as free-to-air channels TV ONE, TV2, and TV3.

The boxes allow connection of to up to four satellites which can work with its four TV tuner cards in any combination. Two channels can be recorded at once, while another can be watched live and the fourth is for a non-real time pay per view service. The device has a 320GB HDD however only 160GB is available for recording, the remaining is reserved for on-demand downloads. The quality of My Sky HDi is 576i via component and 720/1080i via HDMI.

A new feature was released exclusive to MY SKY HDi on 6 July 2010 called Record Me. This feature allows subscribers to press the green button on programme advertisements to record that advertised programme.

As of 31 December 2010, there are 231,072 My Sky HDi subscribers.

My Sky +
The My Sky + logo

On 1 July 2011, a new service called My Sky + was launched, and is the successor to the My Sky HDi service released in 2008.

It has a 1T hard drive which makes it capable of recording 4 times the amount of content than its predecessor.

The box is 3D ready in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup which will be screened on Sky Sport in 3D.

Sky On Demand

Sky announced late 2006 that it will be using the 30% reserved disk space in the PVR to offer a video on demand service to its My Sky customers. This service commenced in 2007 offering 12 - 15 titles at any one time. New titles are downloaded automatically from the Optus D1 satellite to the PVR and listed only when they are available for purchase and instant playback.

Copy Protection

In May 2009 Sky introduced copy protection on My Sky and My Sky HDi decoders limiting the ability to copy material from My Sky/My Sky HDi to DVD/HDD recorders and to PCs. TV One, Two and Three, Sky Movies, Sky Movies 2, Sky Movies Greats, MGM & TCM have a copy-once encoding meaning movies can be copied however any further copying is prevented. Sky Box Office channels, including Adult channels are copy protected so DVD/HDD recorders & PCs will not record from these channels. Other channels are not copy protected. Copy protection technology is not built into other decoders.

Remote Record

In August 2009 a new online service was launched where customers can log on and set their My Sky or My Sky HDi's to record programmes.[4]

The instruction to record a programme is sent to the set-top boxes via satellite.

Mobile

Sky Mobile TV

In December 2006, Sky announced that it will be launching a new mobile television service to Vodafone New Zealand's 3G customers. The channels include:

Sky TV App

Sky has released a mobile app which works on iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touches.[5] The app contains an electronic program guide, remote record capabilities (for MySky HDi), Facebook & Twitter social functions and automatic programme reminders. The app has been a success, with over 50,000 downloads from the iTunes App Store in just four weeks.[6]

Publishing

Skywatch

Sky also provides a Skywatch monthly magazine to all its customers. The latest readership survey shows that Skywatch has a readership of 965,000 which makes it the largest magazine read in New Zealand, and the largest monthly magazine. The magazine provides monthly listings for Sky channels, as well as highlights and features.

Sky Sport The Magazine

In January 2007, Sky launched Sky Sport The Magazine, as the published extension of the Sky Sport television package. The magazine features articles by local and international sports writers, as well as sports photography.

Web

Fatso

Sky also owns an Online DVD rental service - Fatso.

iSKY

iSKY is SKY Television's online video on demand service, which launched in 2011.[7] The service streams programmes from SKY's channels based on users' existing SKY subscriptions. There are also live streaming sports and news channels.

Currently iSKY offers programming from the following SKY channels:

Future plans for the service also include movie download rentals and opening iSKY up to non-SKY subscribers.

Technical

Sky Digital subscribers get a standard 60-centimetre satellite dish installed on their home along with set-top boxes including modems for a return path.

Sky switched from the elderly Optus B1 to the Optus D1 satellite for its DBS service on 15 November 2006. Initially, Sky used vertically polarised transponders on Optus D1 (as it had on Optus B1). However, on 31 July 2007 it moved its programming to horizontally polarised transponders with New Zealand-specific beams to be consistent with Freeview and to gain access to more transmission capacity. Sky have also purchased some of the capacity of Optus D3, which was launched mid August 2009, this gives Sky the ability to add more channels and upgrade existing channels to HD in the future.

A set-top box (STB) is used to decrypt the satellite signals. Digital broadcasts are in DVB-compliant MPEG-2 (MPEG-4 AVC for HD broadcasts). Interactive services and the EPG use the proprietary OpenTV system.

See also

References

  1. ^ Commerce Commission Website - Sky cleared to acquire Prime Television
  2. ^ Scoop: SKY to shut down UHF network
  3. ^ Eriksen, Alanah (11 July 2009). "Sky TV ready to flick its UHF switch". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10583747. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Pullar-Stecker, Tom (2009-08-10). "Sky TV to offer Remote Record". The Dominon Post. http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/2734003/Sky-TV-to-offer-Remote-Record. Retrieved 11 August 2009. "Sky Television's 70,000 MySky subscribers will be able to log on to the internet to programme their set-top boxes to record programmes from Friday next week." 
  5. ^ http://www.skytv.co.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=1506
  6. ^ http://www.skytv.co.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=202&art_id=35590
  7. ^ http://www.isky.co.nz/

External links


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