Chris Rattue: SKY laughing as TVNZ now look out of date

Author
Chris Rattue,
Publish Date
Tue, 10 Apr 2018, 2:35PM
Joelle King won squash gold, but that was enough to make TVNZ broadcast it live on TV. (Photo \ NZ Herald)
Joelle King won squash gold, but that was enough to make TVNZ broadcast it live on TV. (Photo \ NZ Herald)

Chris Rattue: SKY laughing as TVNZ now look out of date

Author
Chris Rattue,
Publish Date
Tue, 10 Apr 2018, 2:35PM

Be careful what you wish for.

TVNZ had a golden chance to strike a blow for free-to-air sports coverage at the Commonwealth Games. Five days in, they've just about knocked themselves into oblivion.

There are people who are seriously [email protected]@#$ off with TVNZ. Free coverage was never going to rule again, but done well it can have a significant place in the new order, satisfying a bulk audience and even keeping a sport like rugby in better contact with the masses.

But people at under-fire subscriber sports giant Sky TV will be leaping with optimism over TVNZ's Gold Coast coverage and public response. Their share price might even be leaping.

I was a big critic of Sky TV's packages, which were inflexible and became comparatively expensive in the rapidly changing media landscape.

But Sky's one-stop-shop is actually very impressive if they can sort out their billing policies, which they have started to do.

From the moment TVNZ started hitting viewers with massive slabs of adverts during the Gold Coast events, it was time to think again.

Joelle King of New Zealand competes against Sarah-Jane Perry of England during Squash in the women singles gold medal match on day five. Photo / Getty Images.

TVNZ is now being hit with criticism over the decision to stream Kiwi gold medal attempts over the internet when lesser contests, some not even involving New Zealanders, are on their traditional channels.

For example: A colleague who was desperate to watch Joelle King go for gold in squash was apoplectic. With the match being streamed, and not wanting to watch it on a little phone screen, he initially went to bed with the radio commentary on. (TVNZ decided to show only the final stages of the clash between King and England's Sarah-Jane Perry on air).

His response is typical about the coverage, it seems.

Maybe all the techno boffins at TVNZ are out of step with middle New Zealand on that one. There are a lot of people who still see their computer as an advanced encyclopedia and a stream as something with water in it.

Not everyone is a natural when it comes to linking the internet with their big TV monitor.

I have some sympathy with TVNZ on this one, because streaming is the way of the future. But in New Zealand for now, technology and knowledge haven't quite hit the point where streaming can be regarded as mainstream.

Sports broadcasters face huge challenges, one of them being that many of the so-called millennials regard it as normal to get virtually everything for free off the internet.

Sky have tried to address the cost issue with a fairly decent price reduction if you are prepared to cut the basic package in half. And subscribers who do stay on the old package now get the excellent Soho channel for "free".

In other words, Sky have responded and will also soon have a new boss for a new era.

Ironically, it is suddenly TVNZ which looks out of date, flooding the coverage with advertisements for an audience used to watching a wide range of major sport largely un-interrupted. Sky, sensibly, prefer to bombard viewers with advertisements at other times.

A lot of those advertisements on Sky are about Sky. The best advertisement for Sky sports coverage right now is TVNZ.