Sunday, February 12, 2006

New Zealand Sky cleared to Buy Prime TV's kiwi operations despite objections

February 9

Radio New Zealand reported that the country's free-to-air broadcasters have expressed their disappointment at the Commerce Commission's approval of Sky Television's purchase of the New Zealand arm of Prime TV.

Television New Zealand said it is going to hit an already tight advertising market.

CanWest, which operates TV3 and C4, says Prime is likely to take over free-to-air rugby rights passed on from Sky, but its signal will not reach all New Zealanders. CanWest had said it would be the first time a pay TV monopoly had entered the free to air market.

Sky insists the $30.3 million purchase will increase choice for viewers by saving Prime from closing down due to financial difficulties.

Chief executive, John Fellet, says they will not be making major changes straight away as Prime has already bought its programmes for the next year, but commented that in a few years, the New Zealand market will be strong enough for a 24-hour news channel which could be run on Prime first.

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