Hot Off the Press Releases: Spark Sells Lightbox to Sky

Spark sells Lightbox to Sky   

Spark has today announced that it has entered into an agreement for Sky Network Television Limited (Sky) to purchase its entertainment streaming business, Lightbox.  

Matt Bain, Marketing Director for Spark, explains, “Early in 2019, we started a process to identify a local or international media partner who could enhance Lightbox’s content proposition and support its growth, while bringing the best and broadest range of content to our customers.  

“In the last five years, there has been significant growth and evolution in the subscription video on demand (SVOD) market. Selling the Lightbox business to Sky ensures a sustainable future for Kiwi SVOD services, while giving us the ongoing ability to provide access to a high-quality TV and movie streaming service, which benefits from a significantly enhanced range of entertainment content from Sky.” 

Sophie Moloney, Sky’s Chief Legal, People and Partnerships Officer, says: “This deal enables Sky to merge Lightbox with our own entertainment streaming service Neon to create a supercharged SVOD service for New Zealanders.  The new enhanced service will combine the best features of Neon and Lightbox, and offer an outstanding range of entertainment content from New Zealand and around the world in a proudly kiwi way. 

“We’re excited at the possibilities the deal presents, and the opportunity to attract new customers to Sky and continue to grow our streaming services.  We’re delighted to be partnering with Spark to offer the enhanced service to Spark customers and look forward to revealing more details in 2020.” 

A conditional sale and purchase agreement has been signed and completion of the deal is anticipated in the next few months, subject to commercial, legal and regulatory approvals as required. 

There will be a transitional period following completion where Spark will continue to provide support for the Lightbox service, as the parties complete technical work to fully transition the platform to Sky.  

Spark customers who are currently using Lightbox will continue to receive Lightbox ‘on us’ as part of their eligible mobile and broadband plans both while the deal is concluded and through a transitionary period. Following the transition period, Spark will partner with Sky to make the combined entertainment streaming service available to Spark customers through its broader entertainment offers on mobile and broadband. 

Lightbox customers who are paying for the service directly will continue to be able to enjoy the same great content they do today, and once Lightbox becomes part of Sky’s new combined entertainment platform, customers will have access to an enhanced range of entertainment content. 

Over the past five years, Lightbox has become New Zealand’s leading local subscription-based entertainment streaming business. Lightbox has been a valuable part of Spark’s offer to mobile and broadband customers, while also attracting customers who purchased the streaming service directly.  

Sky to supercharge its entertainment streaming services with purchase of Lightbox

Sky is pleased to announce that it has entered into a conditional agreement to buy entertainment streaming service Lightbox from Spark.

The deal enables Sky to merge Lightbox with its own entertainment streaming service Neon, creating a supercharged service for New Zealand customers.

Sophie Moloney, Sky’s Chief Legal, People and Partnerships Officer says: “Sky will bring our Neon service together with Lightbox during 2020 to offer New Zealanders an outstanding range of entertainment content from New Zealand and around the world in a proudly kiwi way.”

“With the increasing arrival of the mammoth global players in the New Zealand market, the purchase of Lightbox allows Sky to offer an enhanced, highly appealing and competitive entertainment service, delivered by kiwis to kiwis.

The new service will combine all of the best features of Neon and Lightbox, along with the superb line-up of entertainment content.

“Our goal at Sky is to have Sky’s content in the hands of every New Zealander in ways that work for them.   We will partner with fellow New Zealand companies, including Spark as telco partner, to offer the new enhanced entertainment service to as many New Zealanders as possible.

“We’re excited at the possibilities it presents, and the opportunity to attract new customers to Sky and continue to grow our streaming services.”

\Spark’s Marketing Director, Matt Bain, says: “We’re really pleased to have found an ongoing home for Lightbox with Sky as part of a new combined SVOD platform with Neon. Following completion of the deal, we’ll be working closely with Sky to ensure that all existing Lightbox fans have a positive experience through this transition period, and we look forward to partnering with Sky to offer the enhanced new service to Spark customers.”

Today’s announcement follows the signing of a Sale and Purchase Agreement last night.   The deal is conditional on commercial, legal and regulatory approvals as required, and Sky and Spark anticipate completion by early 2020.

Moloney noted: “There will be a transition period once the deal is completed, during which Lightbox and Neon customers will continue to enjoy their respective services in the same way they do now.   Spark will be contacting Lightbox customers today to let them know that nothing changes immediately, including for those customers who are currently using Lightbox on Spark as part of their eligible mobile and broadband plans.

Support for the Lightbox service during the transition period will be provided by Spark, expected to be during the first half of 2020.

Spark and Sky have agreed commercial terms that – upon completion – will see the immediate transfer of ownership of Lightbox to Sky, with Spark continuing to run Lightbox’s operations during the transition period, Sky meeting the operational costs going forward, and wholesale arrangements for Spark to continue to offer Lightbox and the new enhanced service to Spark customers.   The specifics of the commercial deal are confidential.

Sky will provide more information to investors and customers after the deal is completed and decisions are made how the combined Neon and Lightbox service will continue to deliver world leading content to New Zealanders.

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4 Responses to “Hot Off the Press Releases: Spark Sells Lightbox to Sky”

  1. Not really something I’m going to miss. The only programme I watched on Lightbox in recent years is The Handmaid’s Tale.

  2. I’ve got it free until the end of January and was going to cancel when I had to start paying anyway. I only watch Handmaid’s Tale, Outlander and Vikings on Lightbox. Hopefully they use the Lightbox platform as it’s way better than Neon’s.

  3. I hope this means an Apple TV app pretty soon for Neon … Or roll that into Lightbox’s already working one.

  4. A bit like Paul W, I turned my Lightbox account on and off depending on when The Handmaid’s Tale and Better Call Saul were in season or not. If they move to Neon, or whatever the new service is called, then it’ll be a boost. I suppose Sky might end up getting the likes of the above shows to use on SoHo and Box Sets potentially too under the arrangement.

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