Analysts say review could harm pay TV co.

A government review of New Zealand broadcasting regulations has jangled nerves at Rupert Murdoch-controlled satcaster Sky TV.

The review suggests a new regulator to oversee telcos and broadcasters, similar to Ofcom in the U.K., and — more worringly for the paybox — also wants to set aside top sports events for free-to-air channels.

Sky, which also owns the fourth-ranked free-to-air web Prime TV, recently secured exclusive rights to the 2010 winter and 2012 summer Olympics. Like many Euro payboxes, it relies on sports to pump subscriber numbers.

Sky CEO John Fellet insists Sky is comfortable with the growing debate over broadcast rules but adds that a light regulatory touch has sped up services to this isolated market of just 4 million.

The pay TV monopoly, which has 700,000 subscribers, has been running 20 years without much scrutiny from regulators.

Submissions to the government discussion paper are due by March 31.

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