Christmas Comes Early for Sky Subscribers

Sky’s renewal of a $200 million-plus satellite deal to expedite 4K delivery coincides with the satcaster rewarding “loyal” customers with Christmas bonuses.

Channels that aren’t part of subscribers’ premium subscription tiers will be unlocked from 6am Christmas Eve until 6am January 7, for accessing free-of-charge content from across Sky’s platform, including Arts, Rialto and niche sports channels.

Subscribers to all of Sky’s premium packages are being offered an undisclosed “special Christmas gift”.

And this weekend Sky offered a weekend Fan Pass to Sky Sports 1-4 for only $1.

These long overdue initiatives are part of Sky’s “Go Large” summer campaign and is something the satcaster should have been doing annually to offset subscriber resentment about the barrage of special offers new subscribers enjoy at their expense.

But a better present for HD subscribers is news that Sky has secured Optus Networks satellite capacity for another 10 years.

Sky emphasises the importance of this for “reliably” delivering love sport to “100% of the country” — a dig at the streaming platforms that can crash because of high demand or which don’t offer decent video quality nationally.

“Sky’s future services, including the ‘next generation Sky’ boxes that will be delivered later in 2019, will embrace internet delivery while ensuring those customers who don’t have access to streaming-capable internet can continue to receive and enjoy Sky’s content,” CFO Jason Hollingworth says.

“The hybrid delivery of Sky’s content via the satellite and internet is a key competitive advantage, particularly for sport.”

The 2021-2031 contract is conditional on “Optus procuring fleet enhancements”, including the launch of a new satellite at 160 degrees E to replace the existing D1 satellite (which enabled Sky to go HD in 2007).

Buried at the bottom of the press release is the renewal “allows Sky to continue delivering on its roadmap for 4K and HDR content, which includes the goal of delivering reliable 4K content to all of New Zealand”.

It should also unleash an upsurge in HD content after a decade of incremental improvements in which sports and movie subscribers have been the biggest beneficiaries.

Expect 4K content initially to be limited to third-party apps. Even in similar markets, 4K content remains scarce.

Foxtel in Australia has a dedicated 4K channel that offers a sampling of music concerts and key sports, such as cricket and motor racing, while Sky UK offers a broader range that includes movies and TV series like Billions and Ray Donovan.

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7 Responses to “Christmas Comes Early for Sky Subscribers”

  1. More talk talk talk … still nothing.

  2. 200 million for 10 years? TBH, I find this to be far too low, I bet Sky is being cheap on satellite capacity to starve us of HD content.

  3. Well done Sky, nice vague language which leaves no firm commitments timeline/objectives or content … “which includes the goal of delivering reliable 4K content to all of New Zealand” … Sky also has a “goal” of retaining rugby…….but sometimes its only just talk … We shall see when the AB’s renewal time happens! Call me cynical – but it will be a decade away before Sky offers anything meaningful in 4k … they just don’t embrace technology fast enough and it costs them – with content and subscribers …(Meanwhile Santa is bringing me an upgraded Apple TV with 4K and an upgrade of my Netflix subscription and glorious 4K here we come!). BTW – Happy Christmas, fellow ScreenScribers!

  4. I’m getting a Nvidia Shield for Christmas. I can’t wait to stream my Plex library of HD and 4K movies and TV series.

  5. No mention of sound format, HDR format etc. Once again, too little, too late.

  6. “Buried at the bottom of the press release is the renewal “allows Sky to continue delivering on its roadmap for 4K and HDR content, which includes the goal of delivering reliable 4K content to all of New Zealand”.” How about rolling out more channels in HD. How many people have 4K Sky boxes??

  7. I see Freeview are looking at renewing satellite services for the next Optus bird. And hopeful of HD satellite signals. Implications for TV and STB owners, no?
    Of particular interest was the comment that Freeview see the future as IP and satellite. Seems DTT has a finite life in there eyes …

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