Realpolitik makes for strange bedfellows. Sometimes it feels like the Orwellian fog of alliances as described in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, where doublethink (“the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”) prevails and history is constantly being rewritten.
Today’s example (until subsequently denied and revised):
Telecom and Sky have announced a new commercial agreement that will enable Telecom to sell all of Sky’s television services to its customers alongside their home line, mobile and broadband products.
“With television services becoming more widely accessible through faster broadband speeds, continuing our partnership with premium content providers like SKY makes sense,” according to the CEO of Telecom Retail.
There is, it seems, no conflict with an earlier announcement from Telecom confirming a partnership with TiVo:
Telecom and Hybrid Television Services, the exclusive licensee of TiVo products in Australia and New Zealand, have announced a partnership that will see TiVo delivering unmetered entertainment to NZ living rooms.
“TiVo represents a revolution in the way Kiwis watch television, this new entertainment service allows the freedom to watch what you want, when you want and enjoy top rated movies on the television without impacting your monthly broadband data allowance.”
So does the deal with Sky spell the end for TiVo in New Zealand? In our view, no – just a recognition that TiVo hasn’t proven as successful as Telecom might have hoped. It makes fiscally prudent sense to diversify, spreading exposure across multiple platforms. That’s presumably why TVNZ, despite its championing of the TiVo offering (and of Freeview), has opted to partner with Sky on channels such as Heartland and Kidzone24.
Similar compatible incompatibilities are evident throughout both television and telco sectors. Both Telecom and Television New Zealand once owned significant shareholdings in Sky; and then they didn’t. TelstraClear carries Sky content throughout its cable network but is lobbying for television rights regulation to be considered in an ultrafast broadband world.
Amidst the confusion, one thing seems clear: the combined impact of technological innovation and convergence means that circumstances are constantly changing. Clinging blindly to historical arrangements can be strategically fatal.
Time to revisit that old saw: “Keep your frenemies close and your frenemies closer”.