Fairfax threatens NZ again & Sky/Vodaphone smackdown


Watching the mega corporations who have managed to avoid any real regulation in NZ burst into tears over not being able to get their anti-competition mergers is just delightful.

Sky Sport biggest barrier to merger

The merger Vodafone NZ and Sky TV were seeking would likely have gone ahead had it not been for Sky’s premium sport content, the Commerce Commission said after declining the proposal today.

About half of all households in New Zealand had Sky TV and a large number of those were Sky Sport customers, Commission chair Dr Mark Berry said.

“Given the merged entity’s ability to leverage its premium live sports content, we cannot rule out the real chance that demand for its offers would attract a large number of non-Vodafone customers.

“The central question that we considered in this case was whether the merged entity would be able to leverage Sky’s premium sports content to such an extent that over time it would reduce competition in the telecommunications markets, being broadband and mobile,” he said.

“There is, as you would expect, a very significant consumer segment for whom Sky Sport is a must-have.”

He added: “Sky Sport has all the important content that is the glue to which New Zealanders are attached — rugby, cricket and so on.”

To clear the merger, the Commission would need to have been satisfied that it was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the relevant markets, Berry said.

Sky have benefitted from no regulation and has made massive profits. Allowing Sky to merge with Vodaphone would have given them a brand new platform to continue their dominance.

Any public broadcasting reforms need to look at a levy on Sky and the telecommunication companies like Vodaphone to directly fund public broadcasting. These corporations have enjoyed a free market  approach while our media landscape has gone backwards.

It’s about time they started paying back.

Fairfax however have managed to take their beef with the Commerce Commission to a whole new level.

The Fairfax boss has again threatened NZ with huge staff cuts in journalism if we don’t give him his Newspaper Monopoly.

Fairfax Media has drawn up plans for cuts in the event the country’s competition watchdog rejects its proposed merger with rival publisher NZME.

I say, good riddance to bad rubbish. Bugger off then and allow those of us who want to do real news and journalism a clear playing field.

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We have all been surprised by how the Commerce Commission has refused these mergers and it’s important to acknowledge why that has happened.

The first is that the mergers themselves are horrific in size. They would allow such a dominance in our market we would look more like North Korea than regulated capitalism. It is testament to how huge the Sky/Vodaphone and NZME/Fairfax mergers would be that the Commerce Commission has turned them down.

The second reason why this has happened is our media academics have written such scathing attacks that the Commerce Commission has had no choice but to listen.

We owe these academics a huge depth of gratitude for protecting us from corporate media power.



  1. It was a sad day when TV3 (Hamish Carter, Neil Waka, Paul Campbell ect) Largley took over sports commentary. I’v nothing against them persoanally but I understand that these TV’s peronsallities are now largley employed as corperate coms and Keith Quine who was usurped is still doing what he loves.

  2. New Zealand is way to small for the “constraints of a free market” to work at all. It barely works in any but the most trivial cases even in the US.
    Here collusion and population restraints ensure that tiny, co-operative oligarchies and effective, self-serving monopolies dominate almost every sector of commerce.

    Perhaps Sky would like to place their sports content on a free-to-air platform and see how the tie-up with Vodaphone looks then.

  3. “The Fairfax boss has again threatened NZ with huge staff cuts in journalism if we don’t give him his Newspaper Monopoly”.

    Dear oh dear, journalism is for all intents dead in New Zealand anyway, its a bad punchline to an even worse joke.

    Go on then Fairfax, cut away, the shit you put out isn’t worthy of payment anyway. But regardless of which, that would have to be a better outcome than a giant Newstalk ZB!

    Christ what a bunch of infantile fucktards right wingers and their shareholders are when they get denied their whims!

  4. “FREE MARKET FAILS TO WORK” for the consumer, it was set up to only work for the elitists.

    Christ, change the bloody government before we have nothing left to us.

    • Unfortunately both Labour and the Greens have well-documented histories of cowardice, betrayal and deceit, and the current leadership of both parties indicates we should expect cowardice, betrayal and deceit if either party were to form the core of a new government or be in a position to influence the direction of any new government.

      The more I have seen of politicians, the more convinced I have become that politics is the problem and the government, whichever colour it is, is the problem.

      A change of government simply makes a miniscule change to the distribution of wealth within a dysfunctional and corrupt system which is founded on fraudulent money creation and looting-and-polluting of the environment.

      We don’t need to change the government: we need to change the system. And the people who operate and gain short-term benefits from status quo simply will not allow the system to be scrapped and replaced with something appropriate to the times we live in.

      Therefore, we will continue the great decline which has been underway since the 1970s, with the pace of decline gradually increasing until we reach a critical moment (very likely relating to ability to acquire liquid fuels) after which the system will implode.

      Until that point [of implosion] is reached we must expect more of the same shit that got us into the predicament we are in, whichever party forms the core of the next government.

      • The critical turning points were after Kirk when off shore intervention in our political system became systematised then Lange the humorous egotist had his fling but brought in a draconian shift to liberalism with Douglas and Lange both demolishing public services.
        Education will never recover after Lange broke up the publicly elected Education Boards who fought for school funding and ran a well managed system.

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