Igloo TV service launch delayed

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 09:37 25/06/2012

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The launch of new "stripped-down" pay-television service Igloo, which was expected to go on air this week, is likely to be delayed by up to a month.

Chaz Savage, chief executive of the Sky Television and Television New Zealand joint venture, said Igloo would be trialled by 25 consumers from today but the service wasn't likely to be generally available this month as planned.

"You get once chance at this thing and the worst thing we could do is take it out to market before we'd had feedback from consumers and before it's ready," he said.

Savage revealed more details of the digital service, which will provide free-to-air channels with pay-TV add-ons.

Igloo customers will be able to watch All Blacks, some Super 15 and Warriors games and some other big sporting events for about $14.95 per match. Igloo has not yet decided whether to offer any Phoenix football games on demand. That pricing could change, based on take-up, Savage said.

There will also be a selection of about 1000 movies costing $4.99 to $6.99 and about 200 television episodes - such as Fawlty Towers and The Office - priced at $1.99 each.

Igloo requires a set-top box that will cost $199 including a "30-day channel pack" that will provide access to Igloo's 11 pay-television channels, with additional 30-day channel packs priced at $24.99.

People will be able to buy the set-top box and use it as a Freeview decoder without having to commit to any on-going purchases - leaving them free to buy channel packs or programmes on-demand as and when they want. The service will be available to the 86 per cent of households within range of FreeviewHD. The set-top boxes will need to be connected to broadband to buy individual movies and TV episodes but not to get free-to-air and pay-TV channels and sport on-demand.

Sky has forecast Igloo could have 50,000 subscribers within a year. Analyst Morningstar forecasts it could attract about 100,000 households by 2017, by which time it expects revenues of $42m and a profit of $7.5m. About half of those converts would be free-to-air viewers and half existing Sky subscribers who it expected would "trade down" to the discount service. It thought Igloo would break even in 2013-14.

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- The Dominion Post

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