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Sky goes from strength to strength

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 15th November 2001

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Sky Television (NZSE: SKY) has increased its dominant grip on New Zealand's pay-TV industry by announcing a key addition to its programming line-up and introducing a digital music service.

Sky has confirmed it will offer the popular BBC World channel as part of its basic start-up package from the start of next month. BBC World has previously been available on TelstraSaturn's (NZSE: TLS) cable network.

The company has also announced that from December it will offer 12 stereo music channels "without intrusive commercials or DJ's" to digital subscribers.

The service will be offered in conjunction with business partner AEI Music and will cost $1.99 a month.

"Sky is delighted to be able to provide more new and innovative services for our subscribers," says John Fellet, Sky CEO.

The latest moves throw raise further doubts over the future of rival pay-TV operator, TelstraSaturn, which announced Wednesday it wants to buy British Telecom-owned Clear Communications.

The market is rife with speculation that such a deal will see the end of TelstraSaturn's capital intensive cable TV network aspirations as the company concentrates on telephony services. However TelstraSaturn has not yet admitted what it plans to do with the TV service or where redundancies will be made if the purchase goes ahead.

Sky recently cemented its leading position in the pay-TV industry when it signed a deal with state broadcaster TVNZ to offer its TV One and TV2 channels and says it now has over 439,000 subscribers of which 290,687 receive its digital service.

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