Sky Television has delayed the launch of its Neon subscription video on demand service because of "technical glitches". The internet TV service had been tipped to start in early or mid-December, although Sky hadn't announced a date.
Chief executive John Fellet said yesterday that the full launch had to be set back and he hoped it would be in late January, although no date has been set.
"These sort of technical issues always turn up at launch time - it happened with the early days of MySky. You cannot launch till all the glitches have been cleared," Fellet said.
Neon will run alongside the standard Sky services but will be aimed at non-Sky subscribers. Content will be available on PC, Mac selected iPhones and iPads, and will also be able to be streamed to televisions via Apple TV airplay or laptops.
The television show offerings will include early seasons of Game of Thrones, Girls, Fargo and True Blood as well as the New Zealand debuts of the American remake of Scandinavian crime thriller The Bridge and US war of independence spy drama Turn.
Fellet said he would have liked to have seen Neon running as far back as June. The delay has enabled the Spark service Lightbox to get up and running.
Sceptics say that Sky is in no rush to launch the $20 a month Neon service because of the tricky marketing task to ensure it is good enough to beat competitors such as Quickflix and Lightbox without drawing customers away from the more lucrative main Sky service.
Neon will not be showing sports.
On Thursday, the internet TV subscription sports channel Coliseum announced it would be entering into a 50:50 joint venture with Lightbox to be called Lightbox Sport.
No date has been set for the new arrangement and the new merged firm has not resolved how the pricing structure will be set up.
Coliseum is best known for streaming soccer games from the English Premier League, French Rugby 14 and golf.
While comparatively small compared to Sky - and without the key sports like rugby league held by Sky - Spark backing will give Lightbox Sport the financial firepower to compete more fully for sports rights.
The US operator Netflix is planning to introduce a service in March into the New Zealand market, which is fast becoming highly competitive.