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Sky founder honoured in Christchurch

Alan Gibbs, one of the four founders of Sky TV, will be honoured tomorrow by his alma mater, the University of Canterbury. The University will present him an honorary doctorate.

Gibbs got involved with Sky in 1987, before it was committed to becoming a TV broadcaster. The initial plan was to use satellite technology to supply feeds of sporting events to pubs. Gibbs and partners Trevor Farmer, Craig Heatley and Terry Jarvis made the move to TV broadcasting.

Alan Gibbs

Alan Gibbs

They launched Sky and its three channels in 1990 in Auckland – a reach not much different to that of NZ’s first TV broadcasts 30 years earlier, and pretty well doubling the number of channels available in the city in one go.

Gibbs and Farmer were also among “the men who bought and sold Telecom”. Investing when the government privatised the company in 1990, they turned their initial investment into what Gibbs later described as “the greatest coup of my business career”.

The involvement with Sky wasn’t Gibbs’ first venture into the world of TV. In the 1960s he imported them into NZ, when a TV licence cost the equivalent of $170 a year, and a huge 21” (53cm) TV cost the equivalent of over $6,000.

Nowadays, Gibbs’ pursuits are as much about other interests as money, although he is involved in a project to make a commercially viable amphibious car.

A founding donor of Te Papa, Gibbs established Auckland’s NEW gallery and has a Sculpture Park out at Gibbs Farm overlooking the Kaipara Harbour.

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