Sky TV set to hike subscribers' charges

By Teuila Fuatai

Photo / Mark McKeown
Photo / Mark McKeown

Every Sky Television customer will soon be paying more for the network's services - even if they don't use services cited as a reason for the increase.

On June 1 the network will begin charging new rates for its services.

The increases will affect all customers, regardless of the packages they subscribe to.

Basic Sky packages will increase from $45 to $46.12 per month.

Those on the Sport Tier package, which includes Sky Sport channels one, two, three, highlights and the ESPN channel, will pay $1.05 more extra per month - $26.34 a month, up from $25.29.

Customers on the combined Basic and Sports Tier package will pay $2.17 more per month, with the total increasing from $70.29 to $72.46.

Sky Television spokeswoman Kirsty Way said: "The increased costs of production, particularly in the sports area, and an increase in new services is all part of it.

"We also have five channels for the Olympics during July, eight for those who have HD access."

Sky subscriber Barbara Roling said the price increases were "quite steep". "I don't really watch TV a lot, but that's [price increase] quite substantial."

Another Sky customer, Lyn Horne, wanted to know what was going to happen to the Olympic channels once the games had finished.

Ms Way said the network Olympic channels were only temporary, and would be removed after the event. She also said the timing of the increased subscription fees was "unrelated to the Olympic games".

Julie Anne Genter, broadcasting spokeswoman for the Green Party, said the increase in Sky fees demonstrated the importance of public broadcasting. "If we only had private providers like Sky TV and they gained a monopoly on it [broadcasting], then eventually they could put up the prices."

According to its February statement Sky Television posted net profits of $62.6 million for the last 12-month period - a 3.8 per cent gain on the previous period.

The gain reflected a jump in subscribers to its My Sky set-top box and higher revenue per user on the back of new channels such as SoHo.

The company's My Sky subscribers rose 43 per cent to 331,041, pushing the total customer base to 846,340.

Sky's services are now beaming into 49.2 per cent of the nation's 1.6 million households, up from 47.6 per cent a year earlier.

Shares in the company climbed 2 per cent from a 1 -year low to $5.05.

- NZ Herald

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