Hot Off the Press Release: New Flexible Satellite Deal for Sky

Despite its new focus on streaming, Sky has renewed its satellite deal with Optus for another 10 years — but with more flexibility and “exciting new functionality”.

Here’s the media release:

SKY RENEWS SATELLITE DEAL WITH MORE FLEXIBILITY

 Sky has agreed a revised contract with Optus that delivers satellite capability for the next ten years, with the ability to flex the transponder capacity taken by Sky over the term of the arrangement with corresponding cost savings, and exciting new functionality.

Signature of this revised contract enables Optus to commit to build and launch the first of a new breed of software-defined Ku-band satellites that will deliver greater functionality compared to the existing D1 satellite.

The game-changing ‘Optus 11’ satellite is fully configurable in space, meaning its coverage, bandwidth and capacity can be changed in orbit as customer demands evolve – where traditional satellites are limited by on-ground configurations that cannot be altered after launch.

Optus has today informed its investors that the Sky commitment allows it to proceed with the launch programme, with the new software-defined satellite scheduled to be ready for use in late 2023.

The new satellite, which will be deployed in the same geostationary orbital location as the D1 satellite, allows Sky and Freeview to continue to share the same satellite. This will maintain satellite distribution as a cost effective and reliable distribution platform for the whole of New Zealand.

Sky Chief Executive Martin Stewart says: “While Sky is embracing a streaming future, we remain committed to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who currently rely on our satellite services to receive their sport and entertainment.

“The revised contract with Optus gives these customers comfort that we will be able to continue to deliver our great content to them without disruption and as we have done successfully for many years.

“Our goal is to deliver content to every New Zealander, in ways that work for them.  The New Zealanders who do not have access to streaming-capable internet can rest assured that we have them covered.

“Many New Zealanders with broadband continue to enjoy the reliability and ease of the Sky satellite service.  We encourage them to connect their Sky box to their home wi-fi and enjoy everything on offer on Sky on Demand.

“Our streaming services Sky Sport Now and the new Neon service (launching 7 July) also offer superb options for those who want to stream only.”

The revised contract maintains the benefits of the existing arrangement including the ability to sub-licence capacity, particularly to free-to-air channels, and to access the D3 satellite to provide redundancy during the remainder of its service life.

“As investors may recall from our recent Capital Raise documentation and other announcements, the existing Optus contract was conditional on Optus taking sufficient steps to procure the successful launch of a new satellite to replace the existing primary satellite.

“The revised contract provides additional commitments and assurances for Sky on the success of the replacement.

“The Optus satellite remains a cost-effective way to deliver Sky’s service to our DTH base, and satellite households continue to be our most valuable and loyal customers.

“It is therefore very pleasing to be able to confirm this revised contract with Optus which provides for increased flexibility as Sky and New Zealanders move towards a more IP-focused future.”

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15 Responses to “Hot Off the Press Release: New Flexible Satellite Deal for Sky”

  1. I think streaming is much better than satellite. The picture quality is excellent especially with fibre 🙂

  2. Does that include the Sky Sport Now service, Trevor?

  3. Does this mean Freeview Satellite will finally go HD, Philip?

  4. Fingers crossed, Leo. Still seeking confirmation …

  5. I find that when I download my content I get better picture and audio quality than Sky TV. I get up to 10mb 1920 by 1080 bitrate. I can also get 3840 by 2160p usually around 15mb and generally 640kb 5.1 DD+ and 768kb ATMOS. Meanwhile, Sky appears to have a max of 6000kb 1440 by 1080. And only 384kb 5.1. All local streaming services are very poor quality compared to what I can get internationally.

  6. That is impressive, Fsmith. Any ‘sources’ you’d recommend?

  7. I have had Sky Sport Now for just a day but I would say yes. I’m really happy with it 🙂

  8. Just saw Nick Music on channel 100 and 117 which is a nice surprise for a 5-year old … Any other new channels on the way?

  9. Talking of sources, on Trevor’s recommendation, I downloaded The Vast of Night. Haven’t seen it yet, but at 19.4gb, it has some pretty good stats … (bit rate of 30mb/sec, 3840 x 1600 and 6 channel 640kb/sec audio …). I received an awesome offer to upgrade to 1gb fibre, so safe to say this has been getting a workout … It actually makes streaming a lot smoother when there are multiple Netflix streams and YouTube views …

  10. Not that I know of, Jon, but Sky has dropped the ball lately in advising media of new services so anything’s possible …

  11. Fibre’s a must for optimal streaming, Rosco. Let me know what you think of The Vast of Night. I couldn’t get past the first 10 minutes of maddening Aaron Sorkin-like dialogue and muddy visuals but will give it another go.

  12. Hey, Leo. It seems Freeview satellite channels will have the capacity to go HD under the new deal but it will be up to the individual broadcasters to determine if there’s a commercial imperative to make the transition.

  13. Cheers Philip for the heads up. Great news for the long suffering satellite users. Frustrating that it will be upto individual broadcasters even though HD is the norm, fingers crossed they all move to it.

  14. And therein lies the rub. For better features, functions and benefits, someone has to justify the business case. With little incremental revenue benefit and increasing costs why would a broadcaster bother to upgrade to HD, especially when broadcasters are barely (at best) financially viable? With programming being prioritised for streaming, whereby viewers/telcos share the cost of viewing (c/- data costs), there is little incentive to improve the broadcast experience for old movies, reruns and reality TV.

  15. Alas, that’s it in a nutshell, Mike!

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