Hot Off the Press Release: Sky During COVID-19 Lockdown

Sky TV has announced programming initiatives to help making staying inside more bearable over the next four weeks, as NZ goes into COVID-19 lockdown.

They include a best-of-HBO pop-up pop-up channel, free distribution of Sky News Australia on SkyGo and more children’s fare on Prime TV.

Here’s the media release:

Sky during Covid-19 lockdown – what we’re doing for our customers and for New Zealand

  • Sky is an essential service with our news and entertainment content delivered over our reliable satellite platform.
  • We will continue to provide our services to New Zealanders across the country, delivered by a small crew of ‘essential staff’ working under strict safety controls, and supported by the wider group of Sky crew working from home.
  • We will deliver our comprehensive range of news services from around the world, including CNN and BBC World News, and have made Sky News Australia available to all Sky customers for three months.  Prime News continues to deliver strong local news at 5.30pm each day.
  • We have changed the line-up on Prime, our Free to Air channel, to include even more family-friendly content during the day.
  • There is new content rolling out across Sky Sport including a new ‘Believe It Or Not’ sports quiz and customer ‘favourites’ requests.
  • We are accessing a huge range of entertainment and sport content, including from our extensive libraries, to keep our line-up fresh and interesting – 4 weeks of lockdown is a long time…

“Keeping New Zealanders up to date with accurate news is incredibly important right now, so we’ve made Sky News Australia available to all Sky customers for the next three months.  This move will help Kiwis stay up to date with global developments, as well as all the news from Australia where many New Zealanders have family and friends,” says Martin Stewart, CEO Sky.  Sky News Australia will also be available on Sky Go.

The Sky team has been working non-stop to ensure the network is crammed with great content to keep New Zealanders entertained and informed.

“Last week saw us reach out to all our Sky Sport customers with complimentary entertainment content offers.  With the lack of live sport at present we wanted to do something to reward our loyal customers and we’ve been delighted with the positive response.

“We’ve also been working hard to develop new sports content.  Today, Wednesday 25th and Friday 27th March we go live with our first block of historic content as requested by customers.  As we couldn’t deliver the Hadlee-Chappell series due to Covid-19, we’ll be re-living some heart-stopping cricket on Sky Sport 9, and plenty of other ‘favourites’ requests from customers.”

Not many will be aware Sky is part-owner of Believe it Or Not – the well-known quiz company.  The BION team has been working with the Sky Sport crew to develop quizzes for broadcast, the first of which will be going live on Sky Sport 6 at 10am, today – Wed 25 March.  “We’d love viewers to send in their favourite sport stumpers, so we invite those who think they have an encyclopaedic knowledge to contact us on”

Prime, Sky’s free to air channel, has also been boosted with more child-friendly content – acknowledging the fact children are now at home from school.  “We’ve focused on shows which we know kids will love and parents will approve of, including local shows Tiki Tour and The Moe Show, plus favourites like Danger Mouse and MasterChef Junior USA.  Once they are tucked up at day’s end, we’ll switch things up for the adults in the house with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo Meets Piers Morgan, The Hunger Games, Qi and Go Further South, with loads more to come.

“The team has also been sourcing some fantastic content from studios all over the world to deliver as much quality movie content as possible for our Sky customers.  This will keep us all entertained and distracted as we grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

As New Zealand moves into Level 4 lockdown, Martin Stewart expressed his gratitude to the Sky team.  “We’re moving to a combination of a small ‘essential operations’ team on site with strict safety controls, supported by the wider crew working from home.  Like most other companies it’s challenging and dislocating but I am so proud of our people and what they are managing to do all while caring for their families and each other.”

“We are all in this together.”

*Customer requests include:

  • Kiwi Master Blaster – BLACKCAP Nathan Astle’s world record 222 against England in 2002,
  • 2014 BLACKCAPS v India 3rd ODI Highlights – epic high scoring affair at Eden Park with a dramatic finish and,
  • 2014 BLACKCAPS v IND 2nd Test Highlights where Brendan McCullum became the first ever New Zealander to score 300 in a Test.

And there’s more:

  • SoHo has curated a Best of HBO Pop-up to keep customers on the edge of their seats while in self-isolation. From Monday 30 March to Sunday 5 April, all customers with Starter will be able to binge on ground-breaking series including Watchmen, Succession, McMillion$, His Dark Materials, The Outsider and Chernobyl.
  • From Monday 6 April through to Monday 13 April, Sky 5 will deliver the ultimate lean-back experience with a dedicated Pawn Stars Pop-up, the colourful fan-favourite reality series where everything has a story and a price.
  • Sky Sport customers now have access to a dedicated Olympic Channel on Sky Sport 8, with great stories past & present from the Olympiads and the athletes who continue to inspire us, Red Bull TV has launched on Sky Sport 5.
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3 Responses to “Hot Off the Press Release: Sky During COVID-19 Lockdown”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    March 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I was just thinking with going into lockdown whether TVNZ and MediaWorks will change their programmes over the four weeks, obviously Sky have added a few things. I also wonder what will happen to the ads as it’s not as if they can advertise pizza 🙂

  2. You make a great point about the advertising, Trevor. On the one hand more people are watching free-to-air TV — TVNZ Sales on Friday reported “an increase of peak viewing on linear by 9% compared to the previous two weeks” — but with the lockdown there will be fewer companies wanting to advertise. Here’s an overview of some of the changes coming to TVNZ channels.

  3. Thanks Philip, WOW it’s day one of lockdown. Hope the coronavirus has got its bag packed 🙂

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