Sky TV has appointed Martin Stewart as its CEO, following John Fellet’s decision to retire at the end of the year.
Stewart is UK born and brings with him media experience from previous roles including chief executive of OSN – a pay TV network in the Middle East – and CFO of Sky in the UK. During his time with Sky in the UK, it launched its digital platform and the company doubled its subscriber base in four years.
He also led the turnaround of Ono, a telecom operator in Spain, that is now part of Vodafone.
Alongside his work in media, his sports credentials include being CFO of the Football Association, serving on the Board of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games for seven years, and playing a key role in successful Premier League and UEFA broadcast renewals on behalf of Sky UK.
Stewart is now excited by the opportunity to lead Sky as it continues to transform from a traditional television broadcaster to a multi-platform entertainment business.
In August this year, Sky TV reported a $240.7 million loss in the year to June 2018, against a profit of $119.3 million. The profit, before a goodwill impairment charge, was an increase of 2.6 percent on the previous year.
The report also showed subscriber numbers were down to 768,000 customers from 824,782 in the previous year. However, with the bulk of customers leaving in the first six moths of the financial year, Fellet said at the time that the fewer subscriber losses in recent months shows a promising improvement.
“We have managed to increased underlying profits and control costs while implementing a transformational strategy that ensures we keep delivering our great content to New Zealanders in ways that they want.”
Now, with the announcement of a new CEO, Sky reports serves “over 760,000 New Zealanders”.
The past year has seen it update its Sky Go app in a move that connects customers with Sky Go on the go, with the addition of catch up TV, box sets and on-demand content on mobile and tablet. And most recently, it launched a dedicated eSport channel.
The past year has also seen it improve the viewing experience for customers with extended SKY TV Guide; movies restart feature; expanded movie rental library; Sports Highlights App personalised feeds; two new kids apps; and completion of SKY Box roll-out.
It’s also launched Neon TV-only and Fan Pass Mobile.
In August, NZ On Air released its latest media consumption report Where Are The Audiences 2018, showing total (net) SVOD reaches 62 percent of New Zealanders while TV (via pay TV platform) reaches 52 percent.
Stewart’s appointment comes after a global search for a new leader for Sky and chairman Peter Macourt says Stewart’s experience, leadership skills and strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the sector made him a stand-out choice.
Stewart will commence as CEO on 21 February 2019.