Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media data

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  • Yamis,

    It's so frustrating. The package that has the 'Asian' channels is World TV. They are provided by World TV (WTV), not SKY, so when I asked SKY why they weren't available as separate channels based on you know LANGUAGE!!! they said, "oh there's nothing we can do about it, World TV are responsible for providing the package".

    OMG! Are you taking the piss? I complained about that in 2010. And 3 years later it's the same backward arse shit only it costs even more than it did then.

    There are 12 channels. 9 are Chinese, 2 are Korean and 1 is Japanese.

    Would somebody tell me why a Japanese person would pay $56.62 a month EXTRA for one channel? Or one of the 25,000 Koreans living in NZ would pay that for 2 channels?

    Amateur hour. Or is that Amateur decade?

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Yamis,

    When you're overseen by chumps, tokenism like that is enough to stop them regulating like every civilised nation does. 'See we's got some channels for the Asians'.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    What makes it worse is you CAN subscribe to the French channel (France 24) on it's own for $7 a month.

    The WTV package is separate to SKY. You watch it through your MYSKY decoder but the money is going to WTV who have bundled up the 10 channels. You get redirected to WTV and get it through them. So that would suggest that SKY themselves haven't made any effort to organise some Asian foreign language programming themselves at all aside from the Hindi channel which is Star Plus at 10.21 a month. So SKY can just wash their hands of it.

    In WTV's words:
    What's the relationship between WTV and SKY?

    WTV does the marketing and provision of the Asian channels, as well as producing local programmes. SKY TV does installation, invoicing and caters for other technical aspects.

    For all intents and purposes they are a Chinese TV provider. And Sky doesn't appear to have made any effort to provide for other 'potential user groups' in NZ. I've sent WTV an email asking them why they don't split their channels up. Don't expect much of a response. I emailed them a few years ago when I first discovered the exorbitant price and obvious flaw in their package. Got a 'non answer'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    One of the biggest failures of the last Labour govt (remember them?) was their inability or unwillingness to reign in and regulate monopolistic Sky. Maharey needed to be braver but I guess it has difficult when you have a full-time lobbyist (Tony O'Brien) in the house, smoozing and giving favours in the name of a corporation. Corruption, I call it,

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    One of the biggest failures of the last Labour govt (remember them?) was their inability or unwillingness to reign in and regulate monopolistic Sky.

    And by the time they did get round to it, they got voted out of office. Their other big failure was trying to have it both ways with TVNZ, by way of the well-meaning but toothless Charter. Ian Fraser was the right man for the job but he was given an impossible task. My guess is they were trying to emulate the UK Channel 4 model, which is also funded mostly from advertising but still has a public service remit that works well for it.

    So why does Channel 4 work where the TVNZ Charter didn't? The big difference is money, and lots of it. Last time I checked, Channel 4 was required to return a surplus, but not an outright shareholder dividend like TVNZ was still required to under the Charter. Also, despite funding issues in recent years, Channel 4 isn't at the whim of BSkyB like TVNZ is to SKY NZ - SKY didn't allow TVNZ to charge for licensing TVNZ 6 & 7 on the SKY platform, and Igloo isn't so much a "joint venture" as it is another excuse for SKY to still wear the pants.

    Until something is done to decartelise the TV landscape, I'm watching my shows on-demand. At least when I get round to actually watching them.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And the other thing I've noticed with SKY - watching it from my folks' place up north - is that sport seems to make up most of what passes for local content on it. Little if any proper drama or docos like you get on HBO, unless TVNZ Heartland counts, and even then that's still cheating.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    and here is the response. Basically the same one I got 3 years ago.

    "Thanks for your email.

    We are aware that not every subscriber has the same viewing requirements, and because of the way we package our programming we are not able to supply the exact mix of channels to suit all of our subscribers. Our packages are designed to provide a broad mix of channels to cater for most tastes. Most pay television companies worldwide operate in the same manner, as the matrix of package choices to support "a la carte" viewing is very complicated.

    It would be wonderful if customers were able to tailor packages to their viewing preferences, but the reality is that it would be no cheaper for you to choose the channels you request as they would be more expensive on an individual basis.

    Television viewing is very personal and subjective and not all the decisions we make will please all of our customers. Each customer has to decide whether they believe they are getting value for viewing.

    We will continue to endeavour to deliver a quality product and service at a reasonable cost. We sincerely hope that you will continue to enjoy the increasing variety and diversity of channels and programmes that are offered on SKY.

    With kind regards,
    *"

    I've sent a reply back for all intents and purposes saying... What a load.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Yamis,

    That's like a record company claiming singles would cost the same as albums if people were allowed to buy them separately.

    And without a government prepared to regulate broadcasters like every other civilised nation does, Sky know they can get away with crap like this.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Yamis,

    Underneath all Sky’s “quality product” bullshit, it’s just audience demographics.

    2006 NZ census figures for Asian languages above 0.25% of population (totals rounded to nearest 100):
    Hindi 44,600 = 1.2%; Cantonese 44,200 (1.2%); Mandarin 41,400 (1.1%); other Chinese 38,100 (1.0%); Korean 27,000 (0.7%); Japanese 20,900 (0.6%); Gujarati 15,900 (0.4%); Tagalog 12,500 (0.3%); Panjabi 10,700 (0.3%).

    On these figures, Sky didn’t have to really care about catering for any Asian languages in NZ over the past decade; but if they were going to make some half-hearted effort, a package favouring Chinese was, & still is, their best bet.
    (However, looking back at 1996 and 2001, the numbers for Hindi are increasing faster than for Chinese, so this could change.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to linger,

    So do they split their Chinese-language programming roughly equally between Cantonese and Mandarin (because 'Other Chinese' is about as meaningful as 'Other Germanic', but Mandarin is at least the national language of both the PRC and RoC and, I believe, taught in Singaporean schools), or do they take the common approach of subtitling everything? Or both? And if they're subtitling, Simplified or Traditional?

    Interesting to see that Cantonese, Mandarin and 'Other Chinese' come out so nearly equal, and yet the South Asian languages are so heavily skewed towards Hindi. Still, I bet there's a huge amount of overlap in the Chinese languages, especially Mandarin and 'Other'.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Dunno what Sky actually deliver. (Yamis?) Yes, “Other Chinese” is not a very helpful category, so I’d expect them to ignore that.

    the South Asian languages are so heavily skewed towards Hindi.

    That’s been increasing recently. The number of self-reported Hindi speakers in NZ tripled between 1996 & 2006. But speaker numbers for most Asian languages (other than Cantonese and Japanese) more than doubled over the same period; so Hindi has extended rather than suddenly achieved numerical dominance over Gujarati or Panjabi in NZ.

    I bet there’s a huge amount of overlap in the Chinese languages, especially Mandarin and ‘Other’.

    I agree. The “Cantonese” total increased only 25% from 1996-2006, while “Mandarin” and “Other” responses both more than doubled, so it’s possible that many more recent immigrants tended to report both of the last two language categories. The figures could reflect immigration from (e.g.) Malaysia as much as directly from PRC/RoC.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Yamis,

    I got a similar letter from them. Must be their stock standard response.
    It is a load of cobblers to claim that 'most companies ... In the same manner'. Only where there is a complete monopoly and nil competition for lay services.

    I recently was sent a market research survey asking for my opinion of Sky. A bit of a mistake sending it to me!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That’s like a record company claiming singles would cost the same as albums if people were allowed to buy them separately.

    Up until a few years ago, you couldn't buy most of the songs on the album individually, the only ones you could buy individually were the two or three that have been released as singles.

    Clearly as a business model it works much better for Sky to pile most of the channels together in packages, and only open a few things up for individual sale. It's not like music where the customer can just move onto a different band. The situation is only going to change in any substantial way when we get competition in the pay tv market.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    or regulation, like other countries have.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    or regulation, like other countries have.

    You could do. I guess I don't really see why a competitor in the market wouldn't fix most of these problems. Maybe it's impractical in such a small market for a second company to invest in the content in a significant way.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    If leaving it to the market worked, wouldn't some other country have tried it?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If leaving it to the market worked, wouldn’t some other country have tried it?

    I'm not saying 'just leave it to the market'. Just I think that if the government created an environment where it was an option for a second Pay TV provider to come in and compete, we'd suddenly find ourselves getting better service/price out of sky.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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