John Drinnan

John Drinnan is the Media writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Sky TV appoints new media executives

Derek Handley.
Derek Handley.

The appointment yesterday of two new media executives to the Sky TV board signals the pay television firm's belated push into mobile phones and tablets.

Derek Handley is a high-profile online entrepreneur, co-founder of mobile advertising firm Hyperfactory and a director of NZX-listed mobile advertising firm Snakk Media.

Geraldine McBride is a former senior executive at Dell Computers and spent 17 years at tech firm SAP, where she was president of North American and Japanese operations.

Sky chief executive John Fellet said the new expertise continued the push online with the development of i-Sky, and new mobile services launching early next year.

Sky is negotiating with telcos to provide video content for high bandwidth 4G frequencies to make viewing of video easier. A deal with Vodafone is thought to be underway.

The firm is weighing options for packaging content for 4G services and providing highlights packages, with telco pricing a key issue.

The two appointments coincide with the first rebranding of Sky TV since Newscorp sold its 43 per cent stake to institutional investors in March.

Critics have said Sky kept the handbrake on online expansion.

But Fellet said: "[Online] hasn't been a big sell because it's focused on existing subscribers; we would rather get people into the camp and then give them all the options for how they can view content.

"For us the move online and into mobile phones is about retention."

The push to 4G for video is in its infancy with telcos using reassigned frequencies in the 1800MHz and 2400MHz range. Capacity and new devices should increase when analogue VHF free-to-air channels vacate the 700MHz capacity.

- NZ Herald

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