Meanwhile, over in the murky channels of media players...
Vet says cattle disease claims are result of ‘commercial vendetta’
SKY Television chief executive John Fellet got some sideways looks last August when he said in the company’s annual report that ‘‘piracy’’ was the company’s biggest competitor.
But he may have been more in touch than it seemed.
Eight years ago, my taxi driver ranted about Sky Television’s pricing as he pulled out from Auckland Airport and headed towards Sky’s headquarters, in suburban Mt Wellington.
But this time, making the same THE owner of a vet business under scrutiny by officials investigating the mycoplasma bovis outbreak says he and his customers are the victim of ‘‘a commercial vendetta’’.
Steve Taylor is a part owner of Waiheke Island-based Vet Direct Ltd. It imports and supplies cut-price drugs to farmers, undercutting traditional practices.
And he said his journey, my Fijian-Indian driver is much more laidback.
He never misses a Crusaders match, but he doesn’t watch it on Sky Sport. Instead, for years, he has used an Android media player sold by WorldMax TV.
It only costs about $200, he tells me, ‘‘and after that you don’t have to pay anything’’.
There is heaps of programming including all the sports he wants, the taxi driver assures me, and it is reliable, with streams that rarely shut down.
WorldMax TV’s reviews on social media are best described as ‘‘mixed’’. ‘‘unashamedly cut-price’’ model has been targeted by rumour and ‘‘spurious information.’’
‘‘We never were under investigation ... we are clear. I need to defend myself,’’ he told Sunday News.
Vet Direct supply South Centre Dairies, the Southland farm widely reported to be the first infected with the disease. Taylor said the company’s practicing vet, Alexandra Gilmore, had a handful of customers across the country. That’s allowed for under the law.
But ‘‘now many white people use WorldMax as well’’, the driver tells me. ‘‘Sky have lost so many customers.’’ The only disadvantage is there is no news.
Does he think the programming is all above board? He isn’t too sure.
WorldMax TV’s website says it has 50,000 customers worldwide. It promotes its programming from India, Pakistan and Nepal, but its call centre operator confirms I can get the Super Rugby and yes, it’s legal, she assures me.
She is Pakistani but tells me the company is actually
The majority of the business involves filling prescriptions obtained from other vets for farmers – ‘‘a bit like the human pharmacy model’’.
South Centre Dairies owner Alfons Zeestraten also had another Invercargill vet that he used for emergencies and nonroutine care, Taylor said. ‘‘That vet’s been interviewed by MPI and I believe that’s all ticketyboo as well.’’
But the unusual relationship drew the attention of MPI officials who visited in March. Australian. The link to WorldMax’s Wellington reseller is broken but she gives me the cellphone number of an agent for the company in Wellington, who helps me out.
He tells me I can watch ‘‘any major sporting event happening in the world’’ and that rugby is just part of it.
After I identify myself as a reporter and ask if it is legal or pirated, he says WorldMax TV is just providing links to streaming websites and doesn’t own anything. I should probably call the company’s agent in Sydney.
Sky spokeswoman Chris Major says ‘‘rogue operators selling internet streaming boxes pop up every now and then’’ and it doesn’t have any specific comment about WorldMax TV.
‘‘We have sought a ruling from the courts regarding the legality of the sale of internet streaming boxes pre-loaded with piracy software. We await judgments from the Auckland High Court regarding My Box NZ, and the Christchurch District Court regarding Fibre TV, to determine if they breached New Zealand fair trading laws by making misrepresentations to consumers about their products.’’