Business as usual for Sky Pacific

Saturday September 19, 2015 Written by Published in Entertainment
The Highlanders celebrate their 2015 Super Rugby win. Super Rugby is one of the sports available on pay television Sky Pacifi c, which has been acquired by Digicel Fiji. The Highlanders celebrate their 2015 Super Rugby win. Super Rugby is one of the sports available on pay television Sky Pacifi c, which has been acquired by Digicel Fiji.

The agent for Sky Pacific in the Cook Islands has confirmed that there won’t be any immediate changes to its services in the country following a change in ownership.

The Fiji-based pay television service which was previously owned by Fiji Television Limited has been acquired by telecommunication company Digicel Fiji for NZ$4.16 million

Cook Islands Networking Entertainment and Multimedia Associates (Cinema) Ltd the agent for Sky Pacific here, says it has been assured by the new owners of normal services.

Managing director Grant Walker also says their existing contract with Fiji TV will transfer to Digicel Fiji and they hope to continue as the agent in the Cook Islands.

He says they are excited about the change.

“We very much look forward to working with Digicel Fiji to make Sky Pacific the very best television option for the people of the Cook Islands.

“We have been informed that Digicel Fiji expects to bring in new channels in due time and that there will be no disruptions in services, nor any hike in subscription fees.”

In a statement on Thursday, Digicel Fiji said it had reached an agreement to acquire Sky Pacific – the leading satellite pay TV provider across the Pacific region - from Fiji Television Ltd.

The company said the agreement demonstrated Digicel’s commitment to Fiji and to the Pacific region and was another important step forward in the company’s evolution into a total communications and entertainment provider.

Digicel says on completion, the acquisition will ensure that the backing of a major international brand will benefit Sky Pacific’s current customer base.

Digicel says it will make its portfolio of exclusive pay TV broadcast rights such as the Super Rugby, Super League, NRL 9s as well as movies and quality entertainment programming available to Sky Pacific customers.

“We are delighted to announce the agreement to acquire Sky Pacific. We are committed to investing in the region and to our evolution into a total entertainment and communications provider,” Digicel Pacific chief executive officer Mike Murphy says.

“In line with this, we will soon be able to provide our Pacific customers with an enriched multimedia experience across multiple devices.”

As part of the agreement, Fiji TV has agreed to provide support service to Digicel over the next 24 months to ensure smooth transition in terms of international sporting rights.

Meanwhile, Walker says they have notified the Sky Pacific subscribers that three of the channels (FX, Fox Crime, Fox Family Movies) will not be available in the Cook Islands.

“Star Networks has asserted its rights for these channels in our region. Fiji TV has been unable to come to an agreement to continue broadcasting them outside of Fiji and PNG.  

“As a result, these channels must be blocked in several countries, the Cook Islands being amongst them.

“It is unfortunate that this has happened, but apparently the total number of subscribers in our region is so small that it cannot support continued broadcasting of these channels.

“We are in discussion with Fiji TV as to what is contemplated for our region, but at present we have no additional information. It may also be related to the change of ownership from Fiji TV to Digicel that prevented a continuation of these channels.”

Walker says those three channels were added to the original line-up, briefly replaced by a different set of channels, then reinserted while the replacements stayed in place.  

“So while no one is pleased to hear this, content is always in flux.”

Apart from the Cook Islands and Fiji, Sky Pacific also provide services to Papua New Guinea, Samoa, American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

There are about 400 Sky Pacific subscribers in the Cook Islands. 

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