Dear NZRU, Please free my rugby from SKY. Let me pay to watch the All Blacks live in HD via the internet – like the rest of the world

free my rugby, livetv, NZRU

Orcon launches Free My Rugby petition designed to show support to the NZRU for a new business model for watching live sport in New Zealand.

Orcon said a direct streaming option would mean fans wouldn’t need an “expensive Sky subscription” to watch rugby. New Zealand Rugby and Sky TV both declined to comment according Orcon. Sky TV has held the exclusive New Zealand broadcast rights to those events since 1996. According to Orcon rugby fans overseas could watch the All Blacks play live online for US$7 ($8.55) – an option not available to New Zealanders.

We support the campaign to raise which promotes competition and consumer choice as a means of minimising price and maximising quality of streaming sports games online. SKY continues to dominate the pay TV market, and sport is an extremely important part of that, with 71 percent of total Sky subscribers signed up to sport.

In October Sky announced that it had signed a conditional contract to renew its five-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the SANZAR unions for an undisclosed amount. The shares rose to a two-week high. It didn’t disclose any terms or conditions of the agreement.

The current rugby union contract which expires in 2015 awards exclusive broadcast rights across technology platforms, including internet viewing yet no information about the better to access to stream rugby online is not forthcoming.

We see a lot of opportunity for the NZRU to continue to develop the way the game is presented to globally by maximising their online presence, with streaming, merchandise and back catalog options, like for example. NZRU reportedly spoke with other operators, but clearly SKY was the only option.

Sky still operates under an old, pre-internet distribution model of exclusive rights that are sold to different markets. According to a recent article in NZ Marketing when asked whether it would be willing to potentially cannibalise its existing subscription revenue by offering a cheaper online-only service, Sky said last year: “No, not at this time. [SkyGo] is an added value product for our customers. But we’re always evolving”.

The All Blacks have more than 2.5 million fans on Facebook and New Zealand Rugby conducted an experiment last year when it broadcast two tests live on YouTube in countries where the rights hadn’t been allocated exclusively to a broadcaster. It was pleasantly surprised with the results and we understand both games attracted over 100,000 views.

The Streisand Effect – featured on

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The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. As a result of the actions of SKY traffic on the network grew 1,200% overnight.

Sky Television has banned a series of advertisements for Slingshot’s internet service.

Slingshot general manager Taryn Hamilton said, and Sky confirmed, that the ban was because the advertisements included a brief reference to Global Mode.

Global Mode is a free feature provided by Slingshot that lets its customers bypass country blocks and sign up to overseas online services.

Hamilton said Sky’s ban was “unjustified and petty” and smacked of protectionism and censorship.

Sky TV spokeswoman Kirsty Way confirmed the advertisements had been rejected because of their references to Global Mode.

“We are a business that pays people who create television so we are against any form of piracy or the undermining of intellectual property rights,” she said.

Global Mode was a way of illegitimately accessing Netflix which “did not pay for content rights in this territory”, she said.

Hamilton said Global Mode existed only because “Kiwis wanted to access to quality streaming video at a good price”.

“When and if local companies manage to finally crack that, then there will be no need for the service. But, until that time, people will use services like Global Mode so that they can see decent TV without having to get a second mortgage,” he said.

 – Stuff

BNSL steps forward to explain why Global Mode® is forefront of online media streaming and global content equality – Featured on

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One of the entrepreneurs who developed Global Mode says his company has received interest from overseas in the technology and has stepped forward to defend his motivations.

Global Mode is closely associated with internet provider CallPlus which has promoted it as a means for its Slingshot and Orcon customers to access overseas online television services  that are supposed to be blocked in New Zealand, such as Netflix and Hulu.

However, Global Mode is a technology developed and trademarked by a four-person Auckland company, Bypass Network Services, whose founders have until now avoided commenting on the controversy surrounding the service.

Sky Television has described the use of Global Mode as a “form of piracy that undermines intellectual property rights” and there has been speculation of a possible legal challenge. That is because the reason overseas television companies try to block their services in New Zealand is that they do not own the local rights to their programming.

It is understood Global Mode is being used by at least two small internet providers in addition to CallPlus, including wireless broadband providers Gisborne Net and Evolution Wireless.

Bypass co-founder Matthew Jackson would not say where the overseas customer interest had come from.

Global Mode had “global influence” after reports on its use by CallPlus were picked up by popular US website Engadget, he said. “We are being watched by the world to see what New Zealand is going to do.”

Jackson, a former Kordia engineer whose background is in online security, said he and commercial director Patrick Jordan-Smith developed the service 14 months ago.

They did so to reduce the likelihood Kiwi broadband users would pirate content and risk picking up malware from dodgy websites, he said.

“We don’t intend to have a public-facing image, but there isn’t the right understanding of why the company exists. What our goal was, was to make it easier for ‘mums and dads’ to be able to access legitimate content.”

Global Mode sat at the forefront of media deregulation, he said. “Consumers want choice and why should what network you are on or what country you are in determine what you should watch and when?”

Jackson said he was encouraged by Spark’s launch last week of internet television Lightbox and he “always expected Global Mode to have a limited life as it draws more competition into the market”.

Global Mode is not the only way New Zealand computer users can bypass “geo-blocks” on the internet. Several companies in North America also let people access services such as Netflix for a fee, using virtual private networks (VPNs) that disguise computer users’ true location.

But Jackson believed Global Mode’s “network level switch” was unique and said it did not have the flipside of restricting access to New Zealand online content that might be blocked overseas, such as shows on TVNZ OnDemand.

Bypass’ says on its website that Global Mode can perform better than VPN alternatives and that internet providers that offer it can expect to reduce their customer “churn” by half.

Jackson would not comment on whether he believed companies such as Netflix could prevent their services being accessed by Global Mode users if they tried.

 – The Dominion Post