TVNZ has released its FY2017 annual results, with a $19.5 million loss in EBITDAF on the previous year due to an onerous contract provision with Disney and marginal year on year declines in advertising revenue. We talk to chief executive Kevin Kenrick about outdated output deals and how TVNZ is placing bets on the future.
At the close of 2016, Netflix had broken the threshold of one million subscribers in New Zealand and Lightbox had doubled its numbers since 2015. However, that’s not to say New Zealanders are choosing sides, with Roy Morgan Research showing that they’re happy to dip into different services.
Buying content is easy. But getting viewers to tune in so you can make money from it is a whole other channel. We chat to TVNZ’s Jeff Latch and Andrew Shaw about how they’re planning to address the latter part of this equation.
You may feel like you cannot participate in society if you don’t watch Game of Thrones. The fantasy programme has taken the world by storm and now Neon, the only legal streaming service in New Zealand with Game of Thrones on its lists, is a testament to that popularity as the site reports its best period ever off the back of season six.
Last year, the Global Mode legal battle provided a feisty introduction to the competitive banter that would unfold as the SVOD market started to mature in New Zealand. And although, we are only a few weeks into January, there are already a few jabs being thrown in this space. Following on from news that Netflix was going to clamp down on backdoor users accessing its US version, Neon has been quick to play its first hand with a responsive media release titled “Never fear NEON is Here”.
In 2015, the maturation of New Zealand’s SVOD market was tracked in the column inches of media journalists across the industry. And this trend has already continued this year with Netflix making headlines by extending its service to 130 countries across the world and then saying that it was looking into clamping down on VPN users to ensure they can’t log into global content. We chat to Lightbox chief executive Kym Niblock about what’s likely to happen in the SVOD market in 2016.
At a presentation held yesterday, Lightbox chief executive Kym Niblock said that recent research conducted for the SVOD provider indicated that a fifth of current Sky subscribers said they were likely to leave the service after the Rugby World Cup and one in four are likely to add a streaming service in the near future. But Sky’s director of communications Kirsty Way thinks these figures will come to fruition.
Streaming content is a hot topic at the moment. Companies like Netflix, Lightbox and Neon are all fighting for share, the telcos are signing up content deals left, right and centre, YouTube is still growing rapidly (and Facebook isn’t far behind with its auto-play option), and traditional free-to-air, ad-funded broadcasters are upping their game to try and compete. But the latest arrival in this already crowded market has come from an unlikely source: Family First.
Just over a year ago, various journalists across the industry had a TV dinner delivered to to their homes. In addition to providing a night off cooking for many, this unusual delivery served to announce the launch of Spark’s subscription video on-demand streaming service Lightbox. Since then, TV dinners have been removed from the menu, and Kiwi viewers have instead been feasting on the content offered by service, clocking in 12 million hours of streaming time via the service. The company’s chief executive Kym Niblock talks about the journey thus far.
Sky has opened up Sky Sport channels 1, 2, 3 and 4 to non-subscribers through its online sports streaming service Fan Pass. And this announcement means that sports fans will be able to access the quartet of channels through a one-day streaming pass for $14.99 or a week for $19.99. So what does this mean for viewers who don’t have a Sky subscription.
Not too long ago the high-pitched robotic noises of a modem connecting served as our only gateway to an online world that was typified by webpages that slowly lagged into existence. Over time, the lag has reduced and ongoing roll out ultra-fast broadband (UFB) holds the promise of snuffing it out entirely. StopPress chats to a few industry players about why the roll out of ultra-fast broadband is important for Kiwi consumers.
While the nation’s other SVOD players are taking legal steps in regard to Global Mode, market newcomer Netflix has thus far been quiet in terms of its position on the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to access international content. The company has not joined MediaWorks, TVNZ, Sky and Spark in the case, which is set clarify the legality of Global Mode in the local market. And this could largely come down to the fact that the company has little incentive to support the action.
PLUS: a look at the leaked emails from Sony executives on Netflix’s approach to geo-filtering.
CallPlus Group and ByPass Network Services Limited (BNSL) yesterday responded to the cease and desist letters sent out by Global Mode opponents Sky, MediaWorks, TVNZ and Spark. And rather than bowing down to the corporate juggernauts, the pair of organisations instead responded with a level of competitive enthusiasm that rarely makes it through the corporate PR force field.
Lightbox has released two new TVCs by creative agency Consortium and production company Kontent in a continuation of its campaign, which has been rolling out since March with the aim of drawing attention to some of the SVOD provider’s more popular shows. But the Spark-owned SVOD service is by no means the only player in the market eager to get viewers’ attention, as Netflix, Quickflix and Neon also running campaigns that showcase their respective shows.
Yesterday, Sky was again reminded of how intense and instantaneous online outrage can be when advertisers don’t deliver on what’s promised. In this case, the promise involved simulcast streaming of the new season of Game of Thrones at the same time as viewers located in the United States. Sadly, as 1pm rolled in, the stream failed and the online fury ignited. And while it wasn’t difficult to find scathing comments about Sky’s streaming mishap, it was quite entertaining to see Slingshot engage in a bit of corporate banter.
Netflix, which launched in the Kiwi market today, yesterday announced that its pricing structure will include three different subscription options: $9.99 for single-stream standard definition plan; $12.99 for a two-stream high-definition plan; or $15.99 for a four-stream ultra-high definition plan. And this announcement has been met with swift responses by the players currently in the market. PLUS: traditional broadcasters also announce some changes.
Subscription video on-demand is often compared to linear television as a superior alternative that gives users the freedom to watch what they want when they want to, without the annoyance of advertising. Yet, despite these advantages, Kiwi SVOD provider Lightbox still sees value in using the reach of traditional television to spread the news about its offering and has just released a new, somewhat crazy, campaign for Vikings.
With Sky’s Neon video-on-demand product having launched, Stoppress talks to the designers about developing a streaming service people actually wanted to use
After a series of technical glitches pushed back the date from December last year, Neon is set to launch on Friday, 13 February. And, not to be outdone by news of its competitor’s arrival, Lightbox has sent out a release to various media publications in which it gloats about the strong results of Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul.
Kiwis are now choosing to pay to stream TV and videos instead of turning to BitTorent for pirated content and online shoppers are looking to China for their precious goods, according to recent data-gathering by Slingshot.
While everyone has been waiting with bated breath for the impending release of Neon, Sky this week released Fan Pass, a sports streaming service that will give viewers access to NRL, Formula One and Super Rugby. PLUS: the head of Fatso Cuan Gray has been given the reins to lead the new offering.
This week it has been reported on the NBR and Stuff that Vodafone would be offering its broadband subscribers six months’ of free Neon as part of an extension of its deal with Sky, which sees the internet service provider offering reduced Sky subscription rates to its broadband customers. And while Sky’s director of corporate comms Kirsty Way has confirmed to StopPress that these initial reports are true, she would not provide information on new launch date of Neon.
Late last year, when the aroma of summer barbecues was starting to coax workers away from their desks, subscription video on-demand service Lightbox and Coliseum Sports Media (CSM) announced a joint partnership, which will see the pair of companies bring their programming portfolios together. And now, following on from this, Spark has announced that all of its approximately 600,000 home broadband subscribers (and those who sign up before 30 April) will be given 12 months’ access to Lightbox free of charge. So do these moves make business sense for a telco in a very competitive market?
Netflix recently launched a pair of new spots that show how much a Netflix subscription is capable of changing a viewer’s life. And while binge-watching shows until your eyes go red might not seem all that beneficial, the pair of new spots credit Netflix with the potential to increase compatibility between couples, make people more adventurous and remedy the frowns on sullen teenage faces. One thing it cannot, however, do is make you the leader of an alien race.
Google Chromecast, the thumb-sized media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port on a TV, has now been launched in New Zealand and is available for purchase at various electronic retailers. Selling for a standard retail price of $61, the device enables users to connect mobile devices, tablets and smartphones to the TV and then access apps on the bigger screen. And given the success of the product abroad, both Quickflix and Pandora have already announced that their services can be accessed through the device.
The last year has seen subscription video on demand (SVOD) become a major talking point, with various players vying to become the Netflix of New Zealand. However, claiming this title will now be difficult now following the recent announcement that the actual Netflix plans to launch in both Australia and New Zealand in March next year. PLUS: we look at Neon’s lineup.