In a nutshell, the incumbant broadcaster - sky television, New Zealand's primary pay TV broadcaster - lost broadcast rights to the EPL.
What subsequently came out, was the set up of http://premierleaguepass.com, a subscription based online service for watching all 380 games of the league.
Quite a way down in the press releases and articles that were released it noted that subscriber would be able to watch all the games on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPads, Androids and Apple TV devices.
This is where I think the service will fall down. Yes watching a footy match on your iPhone or android phone will be great - for a highlights package, while on the train or bus. But do they seriously expect people to watch all the games on these small screens?
What about those with their 50" televisions and surround sound audio? Will they connect a laptop to the TV every time they want to watch a game? Standing up by the TV to navigate the desktop designed web site?
Where is the ability to pause or rewind the game, via remote, from the comfort of their couch?
While I applaud the break from Sky TV, the online, ondemand model in New Zealand is not mature enough yet for mainstream use. To transition for the average joe, a device is needed, a set top box, connected to the TV as is the sky decoder, with a connection to the Internet, a remote, and the ability to load user selected channels. The reason for the user selected channels is becuase one single sport would not be able to sustain the costs of such a device by itself. It would take colaboration by a number of networks and services to be viable (TVNZ, TV3, C4, Prime for example).
Such a device already exists, in the US, a roku. The roku combines the simplicity of use with the ability to add user selected channels - either free or paid.
The Apple TV is another solution, but short of adding each game as an "episode" or persuading apple to host premier league site for the New Zealand region (of which apple would take a cut of the subscription as they do with Netflix and Hulu) then this would not happen either. To date apart from a number of US based services, only one other non US subscription based service has been added to the Apple TV (http://www.imore.com/apple-tv-gains-subscription-service-watchever-germany)
The other potential solution, is some of the smart TVs that currently sport App Stores. The Samsung Smart TVs allow for the loading of a TVNZ Ondemand App and a Quickflix App.
Exciting times, and hopefully this will be the start of a new model of ondemand television in this country.
Other related posts:
TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service - part II
TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service
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