Lightbox
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryElectronic commerce
Founded2014
Defunct6 July 2020
FateMerged into Neon
HeadquartersAuckland,
Area served
New Zealand
ProductsInternet streaming
ParentSky Network Television Limited
Websitelightbox.co.nz

Lightbox was a New Zealand subscription video on demand (SVOD) service offering a selection of television shows over a range of devices. The service was owned by national telecommunications provider Spark New Zealand but was purchased by satellite company Sky Television in December 2019. On 7 July 2020, Sky merged Lightbox into its own streaming service Neon using the existing streaming platform of Lightbox.[1] Hema Patel was the general manager director of Lightbox.[2]

History

In June 2014, Spark announced Lightbox (then called ShowmeTV), which allowed New Zealanders to stream TV shows, including Mad Men, Better Call Saul and Vikings.[3][4] It was launched in August 2014.[5][6]

In January 2015, Lightbox partnered with Coliseum Sports Media to deliver a subscription-based sports streaming service called Lightbox Sport. Lightbox Sport included golf, English Premier League football and French Top 14 rugby.[7]

By March 2015, Lightbox faced competition from SVOD services Quickflix, Netflix and Neon.[8]

In October 2019, a Horizon Research survey of more than 1,000 New Zealanders found that 18% of those surveyed subscribed to Lightbox. By contrast, 59% subscribed to TVNZ OnDemand, 56% to Netflix, 29% to Sky, and 7% to Neon.[9]

In mid-December 2019, it was announced that Spark would be selling the Lightbox streaming service to the satellite television company Sky Television. Sky planned to merge Lightbox into its own online streaming service Neon on 7 July 2020. Spark also partnered with Sky to make the service available to Spark customers through the telecommunication company's entertainment offers during the first half of 2020. As part of the agreement, Sky met the operational costs of merging the two streaming services.[1][10][11][12]

In mid-June 2020, Sky announced that Lightbox would be merged into Neon on 7 July 2020. The merged service retained the Neon brand but continued using Lightbox's interface and features and includes content drawn from both Neon and the old Lightbox. Existing Spark customers can receive a NZ$9.95 discount.[1][13][14]

On 7 July, Sky formally merged Neon and Lightbox, with the former Lightbox app being revamped as Neon. The revamped Neon platform incorporates content and several features from Lightbox including the ability to download films and shows onto devices, rent movies, and create user profiles.[15]

Services and content

Lightbox was available via their website on Windows 7, Windows 8 and OS X computers, and on a number of other devices including iOS, Android (version 4.2 and above), Apple TV using AirPlay, Android TV, Chromecast selected Samsung Smart TVs, and PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles.[16]

Lightbox's content included the New Zealand animated comedy series Bro'Town and the Hulu webseries The Handmaid's Tale.[17][18]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Neon – A new look, 100% New Zealand owned and a new offer for kiwis". Sky. 2 June 2020. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  2. ^ Drinnan, John (2 February 2018). "NZ Profile: Lightbox general manager Hema Patel". MediaWeek. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019.
  3. ^ Venuto, Damien (26 June 2014). "Lifting the Lightbox lid: a look inside Telecom's new digital venture". StopPress. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul coming to Lightbox". New Zealand Herald. 26 January 2014. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  5. ^ Keall, Chris (1 August 2014). "Sky TV, facing down Telecom's Lightbox, renews exclusive deal with HBO". National Business Review. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  6. ^ Keall, Chris (28 August 2014). "Spark's Lightbox launches, with a little surprise from the boss". National Business Review. Archived from the original on 17 June 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  7. ^ Venuto, Damien (20 January 2015). "Spark continues to evolve, offers another subscriber perk with free Lightbox". StopPress. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Sorry Netflix, Neon and Lightbox: Why I'm staying a dirty TV pirate". New Zealand Herald. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  9. ^ "TVNZ's OnDemand ranks as NZ's most-used streaming service, according to new survey". 1 News. 28 October 2019. Archived from the original on 23 February 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  10. ^ Ensor, Jamie (19 December 2019). "Lightbox to merge with Neon after Sky purchase". Newshub. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  11. ^ Pullar-Strecker, Tom (19 December 2019). "Spark sells Lightbox internet TV service to Sky TV, cost to viewers not yet known". Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Sky expected to merge Lightbox with Neon streaming service". Radio New Zealand. 19 December 2019. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Here's what you need to know about Neon merging with Lightbox". The Spinoff. 14 June 2020. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  14. ^ Keall, Chris (11 June 2020). "No more free Lightbox for Spark customers". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  15. ^ Downes, Siobhan (7 July 2020). "The new Neon is here: What does the Neon-Lightbox merger look like?". Stuff. Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  16. ^ "What devices can I watch Lightbox on?". Lightbox. Archived from the original on 6 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Watch bro'Town". Lightbox. Archived from the original on 19 January 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  18. ^ Casey, Alex (June 1, 2017). "Huge and true: The Handmaid's Tale is coming exclusively to Lightbox". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2017.