Sky TV offloads outside broadcasting unit to US-owned firm

14 Aug 2020 11:20 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

Sky Television has offloaded its outside broadcasting subsidiary OSB which films its live sports broadcasts to US-owned company NEP.

Chief executive Martin Stewart said the deal which had been tipped since November would ensure Sky continued to deliver high-quality sport productions.

Sky bought OSB from Australia's Prime Media Group in 2010 for $35 million.

It owns the specialist trucks and equipment that can frequently be seen outside sports venues when events are on.

NEP entered New Zealand in 2018 by taking over Auckland company NZ Live.

Sky's ability to produce its own sports programmes from events in New Zealand had been assumed to be one of its key competitive advantages as it faced growing competition for sports rights from rivals including Spark.

But NEP's entry into the New Zealand market in 2018 eroded that advantage.

Sky said NEP would acquire OSB’s assets including its six broadcasting trucks and two warehouses and the 38 OSB staff would move across to NEP New Zealand.

Sky would retain its “world-class sports production team” who would work closely with NEP New Zealand, it said.

Stewart said the sale would let Sky reduce future capital investment in “multi-million dollar” outside broadcasting equipment and instead leverage NEP’s “global network of technology developments”.

About $50m of capital expenditure would be avoided over five years, Sky said.

Sky said it had “robust plans in place” to continue to deliver services to customers during level 3.

The majority of staff would be able to immediately work from home with “essential crew” operating from Sky’s offices, it said.

Sky said in a separate statement to the NZX that its revenues and profit for the year to June would be in line with the guidance it gave investors on May 21, subject to the completion of its year-end audit and an assessment of the carrying value of goodwill.

By Tom Pullar-Strecker,