It’s no secret that the consumption of online video content has ballooned over the last year. Facebook, YouTube, Lightbox, Neon, Quickflix, 3Now, TVNZ OnDemand and Netflix (the list goes on) are all driving this consumption by providing Kiwis with instant access to more content than Kiwis will ever be able to consume in their average 81.16 years on the planet. And now, Yahoo is also entering this already cluttered space by launching Yahoo TV, a new hub dedicated to on-demand content.
Far gone are the days where we got to the best point in our television show only to hear “cccsssshhhh” and see our screens produce an unnerving display of black and white fuzz as we frantically wrestled our bunny ear aerials into the most awkward and weird positions to get the picture back (only to have missed the best part). Luckily this hasn’t been a problem for a while, and our options for viewing television are always getting better, and today Freeview announced the launch of its new digital TV platform, FreeviewPlus, which allows Kiwis with the right technology to access on-demand video on new smart televisions.
At end of June, upon lifting lid of Lightbox, the Spark subsidiary’s head of programming and local content Maria Mahony told StopPress that she was in talks with local film distributors to secure a deal to screen several local shows. Shortly after Lightbox’s announcements, Quickflix sent out a release saying that it had snapped up pair of local shows, which Lightbox was thought to have been interested in, and this seemingly spoiled the party for the newcomer. Then, when Lightbox later revealed its lineup there was a clear Kiwi-shaped hole in its programming, leading to questions as to whether the subscription video on demand (SVOD) provider would in fact be adding any local shows to its lineup. However, these questions have now been answered by today’s announcement that Lightbox has added no less than 19 local shows to its catalogue. UPDATE: Quickflix ups its local game with seven more shows.
Earlier today, Sky officially announced it has signed another five year deal with Sanzar and NZ Rugby, giving it the rights to the precious code until 2021. And at its AGM at the Langham, it had more good news for investors and subscribers, announcing some impressive numbers, detailing how it will soon be embracing internet-delivered television and launching its SVOD offering Neon.
In recent months, on-demand streaming and subscription video on-demand services have enjoyed column inches in pretty much every publication even mildly interested in the changing media landscape. The emergence of Lightbox, the decision of Slingshot to launch Global Mode to give customers access to Netflix, Sky’s plans to launch an SVOD service in the near future and the on-demand streaming deals signed by MediaWorks and TVNZ have been just some of the areas of intrigue that this space has delivered—and a Kiwi public that previously had very limited viewing options suddenly finds itself spoilt for choice. So what exactly are Kiwis choosing and which shows are attracting the biggest audiences?
TVNZ has confirmed that it plans to require users to register with a username and password to access its on-demand service later this year. Thor Bayer, the broadcaster’s head of digital, says that the registration requirement is being introduced, because TVNZ plans to launch a range of new features that will enhance the user experience. Included among these is a feature that enables users to start watching a show in one channel and then pick it up at the same time on a different channel.