Sky is reportedly planning to scrap its Sky Asia Pack next year.
Rumours are rife in the industry that initial talks between Sky and broadcasters have started about the future of the premium bundle. While, an official statement from Sky is still a long way off, BizAsiaLive.com has had strong inklings from broadcasters re-working on their strategies if the news turns out to be true.
It is understood that the Sky Asia Pack’s uptake has not been as per expectations due to the influx of free-to-air Asian channels readily available on the Sky platform. Furthermore, Sky is said to be concerned with premium content being shown on free-to-air channels just days after telecast on the Sky Asia service provider channels. Also, the seven channels a part of the pack – ARY Digital, B4U Movies, Sony Entertainment Television Asia, Sony Max, ZEE TV, ZEE Cinema and ZEE Punjabi, have been unable to compete with free rivals directly behind their encryption window.
If Sky Asia Pack does shut shop, the questions that will come about are:
1. Will the seven broadcasters form an independent conglomerate, similar to VIEWASIA?
2. How much of an impact will the seven channels have on existing free channels if they also turn free?
3. Will the viewership of the likes of ZEE TV, Sony TV and ARY Digital be as big as they make out to be?
An industry professional spoke to BizAsiaLive.com on condition of anonymity, “The lack of promotions for Sky Asia Pack and the dwindling in price of the pack was a clear indication that Sky is losing interest in the Sky Asia Pack. Its not been able to match the numbers it had hoped to. Next year will be interesting when all the channels turn free-to-air.”
One viewer told BizAsiaLive.com that it would be a good idea for all channels to be available as free-to-air to intensify the competition. “The likes of ZEE TV are showing film premieres and big programme properties on &TV and Zing, so we don’t need to subscribe to Sky Asia Pack as we can watch the dramas free online. All these channels should turn free as the interest for subscription channels has diminished.”
Sky Asia Pack was launched at �15 per month in March 2014 but months later, it was being retailed at just �5 per month. There have been no recent promotions for the bundle and neither has there been any big marketing campaigns. However, industry murmur suggests that one big push is expected around Diwali this year.
Sky Asia Pack’s three-year agreement comes to an end early next year. It remains to be seen what the platform decides about the future of its Asian TV offerings. If Sky Asia Pack is discontinued, then it will be left with just the four Star TV channels, which have proved a huge success for the company.
BizAsiaLive.com contacted Sky for a comment on Friday 22nd July but was awaiting a response at the time of filing this article.