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Bill Bennett


Sky TV highlights its monopoly by silencing competitor

Sky TV handed Slingshot a huge publicity win when it banned the ISP from advertising on the pay television service.

The message here is clear: We’re frightened of Slingshot, we’re frightened of competition and we know our monopoly rent-seeking is threatened.

Slingshot GM Taryn Hamilton says the move smacks of protectionism and censorship.

“It’s a sad day when our TV stations start to ban ads because they feel threatened by one of their advertisers and the products they are offering. In this case Sky is using its position to obstruct Slingshot because they feel intimidated by Global Mode.

“And the thing is, Global Mode only exists because Kiwis want access to quality streaming video at a good price. When and if local companies manage to finally crack that, then there will be no need for the service. But, until that time, people will use services like Global Mode so that they can see decent TV without having to get a second mortgage.”

To Sky’s credit, it admitted to Tom Pullar-Strecker of Stuff the reasons for its ban: Sky TV bans Slingshot advertisements.



5 thoughts on “Sky TV highlights its monopoly by silencing competitor

  1. The ironic thing about this is that the very fact that Sky have advertisements on pay TV is the EXACT reason I will never be a Sky subscriber. I’m not parting with my hard-earned, just to be bombarded with ads for crap I will never buy!!!

  2. If people would rather jump through all the hoops of VPNs and global mode, than buy your product, then you really have screwed up somewhere.

    1. I switched on WordPress.com’s ‘like’ feature so I could give Brenda the first gold star on my site for making such an important point.

  3. I’m no fan of Sky TV, but I don’t see anything wrong with them blocking the Slingshot ads. If they were blocking ads for a ‘proper’ NZ service (like Quickflix) then we should definitely be outraged, but Slingshot are officially promoting a dubious (at best) method of accessing content that we are not licensed to watch. I’d like Slingshot to stop promoting their dodgy service so that people like me can continue to quietly watch Netflix under the radar and in peace…

  4. Sky TV, together with other substantial acquirors of content rights in New Zealand – TVNZ and TV3 – banned the Slingshot ad with reference to Global Mode.

    Very interesting to see journalist Bill Bennett post such a thoughtful piece on the dynamics at play here. A lot of thought given to the legitimate interests of rights owners in this article and insightful analysis of Sky’s motivations.

    Sky TV, TVNZ, TV3 and others appear powerless to prevent the likes of Global Model – it really is the content owners that need to go after Netflix on their willingness to sell subscriptions in geographies they don’t own the rights for. But is does not seem unreasonable (unless there is a personal crusade to push?), that these broadcasters don’t want to partake in advertising something that undermines their legitimate business interests.

    Neither Sky TV, TVNZ or TV3 have put a business model together that looks to compete with what Netflix is doing. Quickflix has, and continues to struggle to get capital to execute on that business model in the New Zealand market; and Spark is about to with Lightbox. Like the big three content buyers, these parties are also harmed in their goals to provide such a service in New Zealand by the likes of Global Mode as they have to buy rights in New Zealand and monetise them – they can’t piggy back off their home market rights and get extra revenue in New Zealand for no cost – like Netflix is willing to do.

    What Slingshot is doing with Global Mode is as others have commented – questionable. But to be fair they are providing choice to consumers, who then have to exercise how they use that choice themselves. Clearly there is a demand for services like Netflix and VPNs and Global Mode are ways of accessing that content.

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