New Zealand's Spark partners with Netflix

The Netflix logo is pictured on a television remote in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSWAFL

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand telecommunications company Spark said on Monday it was partnering with U.S. video streaming giant Netflix in an arrangement that was the first of its kind.

Spark’s broadband customers would receive a year of Netflix’s standard plan at no extra cost, the first time the video service had been bundled with broadband in New Zealand, Spark said in a statement to the stock exchange.

The deal comes at a time when New Zealand telecommunications providers are shifting towards becoming media providers.

The arrangement with Netflix “is also consistent with our shift towards becoming a digital services provider, rather than just a traditional telco,” said Simon Moutter, Spark’s chief executive.

On Thursday New Zealand’s competition regulator ruled against pay-TV provider Sky Television’s purchase of Vodafone’s New Zealand unit.

Spark had vociferously opposed the deal, gaining a temporary stay in a New Zealand court if the regulator had ruled in favor of the transaction, arguing that it would create a monopoly on premium sport content.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Jason Neely