Freeview, Sky Feud About HD Penetration in New Zealand

February 17, 2010

Based on the rather iffy assumption that virtually everyone in New Zealand who has HD capability (by being Freeview subscribers) are actually watching HD channels most of the time, Freeview said its terrestrial service had beaten rival Sky TV in HD penetration during the last quarter of 2009.

Freeview said it had record sales for that three-month period, which included the holiday sales season. The same quarterly time frame roughly coincided with a few potentially beneficial activities, such as the start-up of the NZHD channel and new TiVo DVR options (which take feeds from Freeview HD). There's also the convenient fact that such brand names as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung have been offering many of their HD models in the country with Freeview HD internal tuners. (Freeview automatically counts owners of these sets as HD subscribers.)

Penetrating an estimated 22 percent of all New Zealand homes, Freeview said it now has about 190,000 satellite television homes, plus more than 156,400 HD homes. This is an increase of about 42,300 since the last quarter.

Rival service provider Sky, says that many owners of sets equipped with Freeview HD tuners never bother to use them, rather opting to pay for Sky's HD tiers.

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