Spark has ridded itself of its online streaming platform Lightbox and sold it to Sky TV, who plans to merge Lightbox with its own streaming platform Neon, creating what it calls a ‘supercharged’ service for New Zealanders. While neither Spark nor Sky are revealing how much Sky paid to acquire Lightbox, Spark hints that its only option was to sell Lightbox to sky to ensure “a sustainable future for Kiwi subscription video on demand” services. While the deal has to pass regulatory, commercial and legal approvals, it’s likely that the deal with be completed in early 2020.
“With the increasing arrival of the mammoth global players in the New Zealand market, the purchase of Lightbox allows Sky to offer an enhanced, highly appealing and competitive entertainment service, delivered by Kiwis to Kiwis,” says Sky’s chief legal, people and partnerships officer Sophie Moloney. “Our goal at Sky is to have Sky’s content in the hands of every New Zealander in ways that work for them. We will partner with fellow New Zealand companies, including Spark as telco partner, to offer the new enhanced entertainment service to as many New Zealanders as possible.”
Lightbox customers won’t be left fully in the dark – Spark will be contacting Lightbox customers to let them know that nothing changes immediately, including for those customers who are currently using Lightbox on Spark as part of their eligible mobile and broadband plans.
“Spark customers who are currently using Lightbox will continue to receive Lightbox ‘on us’ as part of their eligible mobile and broadband plans both while the deal is concluded and through a transitionary period. Following the transition period, Spark will partner with Sky to make the combined entertainment streaming service available to Spark customers through its broader entertainment offers on mobile and broadband,” a statement from Spark says.
“Lightbox customers who are paying for the service directly will continue to be able to enjoy the same great content they do today, and once Lightbox becomes part of Sky’s new combined entertainment platform, customers will have access to an enhanced range of entertainment content.”
Support for the Lightbox service during the transition period will be provided by Spark, expected to be during the first half of 2020.
Spark says that Lightbox has been a ‘valuable’ part of its offerings to broadband and mobile customers. Sky will provide more information to investors and customers after the deal is completed and decisions are made about how the combined Neon and Lightbox service will continue to deliver content to New Zealanders.