Another exciting development happened yesterday in online content delivery. Spark announced a joint venture with Coliseum Sports to bring more sports content to the Lightbox online TV platform. This new deal will see Golf, English Premier League football, French TOP 14 rugby and "all future New Zealand based projects" (whatever that means) streaming through Lightbox to New Zealand houses.
Online content delivery is one of the exciting opportunities that is opening up by having ubiquitous, high quality connectivity. As we see fibre reach more New Zealand homes, this sort of fast moving, high quality content delivered via the Internet will become more and more common. We are already seeing that potential being realised - first it was Quikflix, then it was Coliseum itself, and now we see Sky launching their new service, Netflix on their way and the ongoing enhancement of the Lightbox platform - and that's not to mention cheeky unlocking plays like Global Mode on the side that allow access to even more options too. It is innovations such as these that drive usage of fibre, and that's great.
What this also does is increase competition in content in New Zealand - and that's something that needs a shake-up. For over twenty years, Sky has had a dominant position in content in New Zealand; being answerable to only one company has meant that we’ve arguably been paying too much for content in New Zealand. Also we might be missing out on cool content if for whatever reason Sky decides not to air something it has the rights to – or slaps a great big delay on it. These online services shake that market up, increasing the range of content available at some pretty compelling price points. It also leads to a fragmentation of this market, where customers may have to buy content from a number of providers in order to get the combinations that they find personally interesting. But being able to choose combinations instead of huge packages that bundle sport with the E Channel is a good thing. We are currently in a messy, dynamic space in this regard, with more choice on offer and innovation coming from all directions.
For now at least, InternetNZ says "well done" to Spark in providing another interesting, Internet-based content play. We’ve tipped our fedoras to Spark twice in two days now following the announcement of Tasman Global Access. Never let it be said that we don't say nice things about big telco in New Zealand!