Igloo lined up for Monday launch

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 17:27 30/11/2012

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Discount pay television service Igloo is tipped to launch on Monday after a five-month delay.

The Sky Television and Television New Zealand joint venture originally hoped to launch its service by the end of June, but the plans were put on hold because of unspecified technical difficulties with its British-supplied set-top boxes.

A source has said the service will kick off next week. Majority owner Sky Television would not comment. 

Sky has forecast Igloo could have 50,000 subscribers within its first year.

Analyst Morningstar estimated  it could attract about 100,000 viewers by 2017, by which time it expected revenues of $42 million 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.

Igloo will be available to the 86 per cent of people who live in areas where FreeviewHD is available.

Its set-top boxes are expected to cost $199 and will require a UHF aerial.

Customers will be able to use the boxes to pick up FreeviewHD channels without incurring any ongoing charges.

However, they will also be able to pre-pay for 11 Sky channels, at a cost of about $24.99 for 30 days viewing, and watch sports events, including All Blacks' games, some Super 15 and Warriors games, for about $14.95 per match.

Neither requires an internet connection.

But if customers do connect Igloo boxes to the internet, they will be able to rent more than 1000 movies, costing $4.99 to $6.99, and about 200 television programmes, priced at $1.99, such as episodes of Fawlty Towers and The Office.

If Igloo boxes are connected to the internet, customers will be able to buy channel packs and pay-per-view sports by credit card using their remote control, rather than having to phone Igloo or visit its website.

An electronic programme guide will show programming for the next eight days, or 15 days if the boxes are connected to the internet.

The boxes do not include hard drives, but customers will be able to ''pause'' and then resume watching programmes by inserting a USB stick, which will buffer up to four hours of programming.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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