18 Oct 2018

Sky looks to Neflix and internet to stop rot

5:57 pm on 18 October 2018

Sky Network Television is launching an internet-connected set top box to help hold on to subscribers.

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File photo. Photo: 123rf

The pay TV operator lost almost 50,000 subscribers last year and has been outbid on broadcasting rights for a handful of sport events, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup, motor racing, and the Oscars awards.

Sky chief executive John Fellet said the company was in talks with Netflix and AmazonPrime to put their content on the cloud-based platform.

"Around the world it's been difficult for apps to survive on their own, and even Netflix is constantly courting now box manufacturers to go on it. We're real close to doing a deal," he said.

"We would like to have every app there is, available to you."

Mr Fellet said Sky will update its traditional decoder box next year, and launch a new channel, SoHo2, next month.

He said Sky's churn rate, a measure of subscriber losses, has slowed this financial year, however the company gave neither an update on its trading nor any profit guidance.

Sky chairperson Peter Macourt said if its share price continued to fall it may have to write down the value of the business.

The company posted a $240 million loss in the past financial year after writing down the value of assets and goodwill by $360m.

Mr Fellet said the board was looking at a shortlist of four candidates to succeed him. One already works for Sky, and the other three are based overseas.

Mr Fellet is to remain on the board but said he has no preferred successor.