The proposed merger between Sky TV and Vodafone New Zealand was greenlighted in Auckland this morning by Sky shareholders. Peter Macourt is a former No. 2 at News Corp Australia and is a former director of Foxtel, which is 50% owned by News Corp. He is currently chairman of Sky TV in New Zealand, which used to be 43% owned by News until it sold out in early 2013 ahead of the split in the family empire in June of that year. In other words he is a “safe pair of hands” so far as the Murdochs are concerned. Macourt has been the prime driver in the proposed merger of the company with Vodafone NZ.

Addressing that meeting Macourt said the company had no option but to merge because of the weak outlook for pay TV — a warning that ought to be heeded at Foxtel in Australia and at News as both move towards a massive shake-up of the Murdoch’s Australian pay-TV assets (which also include Fox Sports). Macourt told shareholders the pay-TV industry was “at a crossroads” with the internet having permanently changed the way people consumed media and entertainment services.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey