TV3 joins Banned of Brothers… Blocks Slingshot adverts

TV3 has joined Sky TV and TVNZ in banning Slingshot’s latest TV ads which feature the Internet Service Provider’s Global Mode service, which allows Kiwis to access Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming video services.

Slingshot GM Taryn Hamilton says he understands the broadcasters have been collectively talking to the content providers about how to shut Global Mode down.

“This collusion is just the latest example of big business trying to quash competition,” he says.

“It’s completely unjustified and we don’t think New Zealanders should stand for it.

“All three of our big broadcasters have now clearly demonstrated that they are not willing to listen to what their customers want and are instead focusing their efforts on trying to shut Global Mode down.

“We knew this was a hot topic and Kiwis were desperate for change, but this reaction from our broadcasters is quite astonishing and unprecedented.”

Hamilton says Mediaworks conceded to him that it is under pressure from US studios to act, a claim which was rejected by Mediaworks spokesperson Rachel Lorimer, via an emailed statement to Techday.

“MediaWorks TV made the decision to decline the Slingshot Global Mode ads independently,” Lorimer told Techday.

“As per yesterday’s statement, we have a responsibility to provide viewers with accurate information and our advice is that users of Global Mode are breaching copyright.

“The TV networks do talk to each other about industry matters, as do all sectors of the economy, but MediaWorks makes decisions because they are best for our business.

“TVNZ and SKY are our main rivals in a highly competitive market and we are fierce competitors.”

Lorimer also stated that MediaWorks television content is not “expensive” and is in fact, “completely free”.

“MediaWorks TV broadcasts all its content free of charge on its television channels and video on demand services, and is constantly looking for new ways to make programmes available on the viewers device of choice – e.g. we have made both series of House of Cards available as a box set on 3NOW (available online and on mobiles and tablets) as well as broadcasting it on TV3,” she added.

“New Zealanders are increasingly well served by the range of high quality local and international television content that is available on free to air television, pay TV as well as subscription video on demand suppliers.

“We are in the business of paying the people who create TV, film and other content for the rights to broadcast their work in NZ, and we provide that content to New Zealanders free of charge.”

Weighing into the debate, Rick Shera, partner at Lowndes Jordan, who is acting for Slingshot, says: “Unblocking geographically restricted content is not new.

“Neither are parallel imports. New Zealanders have been legally doing this with zone controlled DVDs and imported goods for years because our laws were changed to allow it.

“What has surprised the incumbent broadcasters is that instead of making people import DVDs in order to view otherwise expensive or unavailable content, Slingshot has innovated to let its customers import that content online. That does not change the fact that it is perfectly legal.

“Since GlobalMode is legal it follows that any ads for it are not misleading and don’t contravene the ASA’s codes.

“Anyway, I’d be surprised if the ASA would entertain a complaint which is not about the ads themselves, but really about the broadcasters wanting to block legitimately imported content coming into New Zealand.”

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Techday has approached TV3 for comment and will update the story accordingly…

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