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Survey reveals how many hit by Global Mode decision; measures backlash against Sky TV, Spark

The aftermath of yesterday's surprise settlement.
 
Chris Keall talks about the latest Global Mode news on NBR Radio and on demand via MyNBR Radio.

Chris Keall
Thu, 25 Jun 2015

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A Horizon Research survey released exclusively to NBR indicates the number of people who will be affected by CallPlus’ decision to throw in the towel on Global Mode.

It has also measured the potential backlash for Sky TV, Spark and others who backed the legal action against the service.

Yesterday, Sky TV announced a settlement had been reached. In return for CallPlus’ Global Mode service not being available from September 1, Sky TV, TVNZ, MediaWorks and Lightbox owner Spark have dropped a High Court action against the company, which owns ISPs Slingshot, Orcon and Flip.

Horizon’s April survey of 1486 adults nationwide, weighted to match NZ’s population, found about 169,500 New Zealand adults will be directly affected by the pending shutdown of Global Mode services that give people access to overseas media content.

In April last year, when CallPlus bought Orcon, chief executive Mark Callander said the combined company had 220,000 customers. At the time, that equated to 13% of the market, according to Commerce Commission stats. Mr Callander claims it now has 15%.

CallPlus has never revealed how many of its customers took advantage of Global Mode. Horizon’s survey indicates it was a high percentage.

The survey found:

  • 5.3% (169,500 New Zealanders aged 18+, if you extrapolate) were using it at the time of the survey and 3.1% (99,200 people) had used it in the past but were not currently using it.
  • 92.1% of respondents (equivalent to 2,946,300) said they thought New Zealanders should be able to access offshore streaming websites without being restricted by geo-blocking
  • 22.2% (710,200) say that this access should be “under all circumstances” (i.e. regardless of media companies’ commercial or other arrangements and irrespective of whether it is legal). 
  • 29.6% (946,900) say New Zealanders should be able to access offshore streaming websites without being restricted by geo-blocking provided it is legal. 

The settlement announced yesterday means the arguments used by Sky TV et al and CallPlus won’t be tested in court.

Horizon’s numbers indicate a strong public appetite for reform. The government says it does plan to review copyright law (much of which dates from 1994), but not until Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks wrap up.

Horizon also asked its panel (before yesterday's settlement was revealed): Does the legal action by Sky Network Television, MediaWorks, TVNZ and Spark have any effect on your use of their channels or online media services?

The responses:

  • No effect at all: 67.0%
  • I'm more likely to use their services in the future: 2.50%
  • I'll wait to see the outcome of any court case before deciding what I might do: 13.30%
  • I'm less likely to use their services in the future: 17.10%

Horizon principal Graeme Colman notes streaming video service subscribers, unsurprisingly, have much more front-foot views about New Zealanders being allowed to access offshore content.

  • Netflix (NZ) and Quickflix subscribers were significantly more likely than average to think they should not be geo-blocked under any circumstances. 
  • Netflix subscribers were significantly more likely than average to be using Global mode.
  • Sky TV subscribers were significantly less likely than average to be using Global mode, so any fallout from the legal case is probably less likely to impact Sky TV. That is supported by the analysis of Q27, as Sky TV and Sky TV Neon subscribers are significantly more likely than average to say the legal case will have no effect on their use of the channels or online networks of the litigious media.
  • Netflix subscribers are significantly more likely than average to say that they are less likely to use the services of the litigants in future.

Incidentally, Horizon's extrapolated panel numbers indicate around 220,000 New Zealanders are using Netflix – putting it streets ahead of rivals. CallPlus earlier said that Netflix NZ and Netflix US now account for 25% of its traffic. Horizon puts Quickflix on approximately 25,600 users, and Sky TV's Neon on 16,000. It didn't collect a number for Spark's Lightbox.

Meanwhile, in a related NBR subscriber-only poll, an overwhelming majority of 96% of respondents indicated they do not believe traditional broadcasters are doing enough to adapt to the age of streaming video.

To build your own NBR Radio playlist and enjoy instant on-demand access to any audio, sign up for our FREE smartphone-only subscription to NBR ONLINE.

Chris Keall
Thu, 25 Jun 2015
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Survey reveals how many hit by Global Mode decision; measures backlash against Sky TV, Spark
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