Pay TV v Seven: fight, fight, fight.

Oh who doesn’t love a good stoush when publicists get tapping on the old intranet? The latest is between Seven and ASTRA, the body that represents the subscription television industry.

ASTRA has come out swinging against Seven’s decision not to air the AFL qualifying match  on Friday night live to viewers, notably interstate. Depending on where you live you may have to sit through Better Homes and Gardens, Today Tonight or Seven News before you can see the Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs game. Seven has pushed Home and Away onto Thursday but that’s all…

ASTRA is using the move as a way of calling on the government to revisit the anti-siphoning list (y’know the same one that prevented us from seeing other Olympic events on 7HD?). Clearly it isn’t a situation that Seven isn’t rapt in either. But it’s the way everybody addresses it that is remarkable.

Seven responded to the ASTRA statement by being blunt. “What a surprise. Yet another carping, miserable observation from the pay television industry – their second in only a few days on the same topic.”

Can we have more statements like this from the industry please?

ASTRA Press Release:
ASTRA today again called on the Federal Government to adopt a new approach to its restrictive
sports rights regulation after it was revealed AFL fans will be denied access to live matches during
the AFL Finals Series which starts on Friday.

Despite having the rights to broadcast Friday’s opening match live, Channel Seven will delay the
broadcast by one hour in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Sports fans in these cities will be forced to wait or watch Better Homes and Gardens or Deal or No
Deal before finally seeing the Second Qualifying Final between Hawthorn and the Western
Bulldogs at the MCG.

ASTRA has called on the Federal Government to reduce the length of the restrictive antisiphoning
list, which allows free-to-air networks (FTA) a monopoly first right to buy sports that are
repeatedly not shown live and nationally.

ASTRA CEO Debra Richards says sport fans are being let down due to an anti-siphoning list in
desperate need of reform.

“Despite having the ability to broadcast the opening match of the AFL Finals Series live in these
cities, the Seven Network has chosen not to do so, for reasons best known to them, instead
offering sports fans Better Homes and Gardens and forcing them to wait.”

“Seven bought the rights to show AFL matches under the cover of the anti-siphoning list, a list that
must be reduced so Australians can see more sport on free-to-air television and give Australians
the choice of more sport on subscription television.”

The anti-siphoning list includes more than 4,700 sporting events in an Olympic year, and is leaving
sports fans waiting and wondering.

ASTRA’s proposal would benefit all Australian sports fans and lead to:
o More sport on television
o Allow FTA networks to keep what is currently shown
o Allow all broadcasters to compete for events not currently shown
o Encourage competition for sports rights and;
o Assist in digital television take-up

The recent Olympic Games demonstrated the need for urgent reform.

Australian viewers missed out on seeing key events live, including Steve Hooker’s historic gold
medal win in the pole vault and full coverage of Matthew Mitcham’s extraordinary gold medal in
10m platform diving.

Ms Richards said Seven’s latest decision not to broadcast AFL live and nationally again takes
Australian sport fans for granted and supports ASTRA’s call for an immediate reduction to the antisiphoning
list.

“AFL fans in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will miss seeing a major event live. The subscription
television industry supports the principle of showing sport live and nationally.

“Seven has chosen when sports fans can watch the AFL in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
Effectively delaying the game for these fans simply demands legislative change.”

Seven Statement:
What a surprise. Yet another carping, miserable observation from the pay television industry – their second in only a few days on the same topic.

You’d reckon being a comfortable monopoly would be enough but they’re still demanding that people pay for sports coverage they currently enjoy on free-to-air television. That’s a most un-Australian demand, especially for the seven out of ten Australians who choose not to take-up pay television.

14 Comments:

  1. It’s channel 10 as well as 7!!! I just don’t understand how here in Brisbane, we can have afl games live all year except the finals. An hour north they can watch the finals live on country channel 10. It’s Saturday night and I am stuck watching Stuart Little, which is also being played on Nickelodeon at the same time. If it’s because of a fear of a loss of ratings, then maybe they shouldn’t bid for exclusive rights if the ratings are so bad. With 1000 people moving into South East Queensland every week, you would have to assume some of them are AFL supporters.

    Sure have the rights for the AFL channel 7 and 10, but if you won’t play it live, you should allow foxtel to play it live for those of us who pay for it, because free to air tv just isn’t good enough
    Very selfish and disappointing.

  2. Jack, WA will be delayed by 60 minutes .
    Coverage in the East would start at 7:30pm if it were live, which is 5:30 WA time.
    Broadcast in WA starts at 6:30pm – and I dare say Channel 7 won’t cut the 20 minute preview

  3. (quote)
    ASTRA’s complaint at Seven not showing the AFL finals live into Sydney, Brisbane and Perth have merit but ignores one major factor: ratings.
    1. Seven obviously wants to maximise its audience by showing Better Homes & Gardens in Sydney and Brisbane first. If it just shows the AFL live into the two cities it will go head to head with live NRL on Nine and NRL will certainly win.
    2. The two WA teams (West Coast and Fremantle) miss out on this year’s finals, so what’s the deal with showing Friday’s qualiyfing final involving two Victorian teams into WA at 5.30pm local time? Does ASTRA have any suggestion for Seven on what to show at 8.30pm, when most people will be watching TV?(quote)

    You’re obviously not a sports fan – the most passionate sports fans aren’t even interested in watching a game on delay – I never watch sport that isn’t shown live.

    Of course Seven is just trying to maximize ratings, but that is not the point. The point is that Seven should be free to maximize ratings if they want, but in this situation the match should also be shown live on pay-tv for the hardcore fans who will pay for live coverage.

  4. ASTRA’s complaint at Seven not showing the AFL finals live into Sydney, Brisbane and Perth have merit but ignores one major factor: ratings.
    1. Seven obviously wants to maximise its audience by showing Better Homes & Gardens in Sydney and Brisbane first. If it just shows the AFL live into the two cities it will go head to head with live NRL on Nine and NRL will certainly win.
    2. The two WA teams (West Coast and Fremantle) miss out on this year’s finals, so what’s the deal with showing Friday’s qualiyfing final involving two Victorian teams into WA at 5.30pm local time? Does ASTRA have any suggestion for Seven on what to show at 8.30pm, when most people will be watching TV?

  5. But AFL is already on FoxSport, a number of games every week LIVE. All they want is the option of having all the finals live for every one no matter which state you’re in. Then ch7 can show them whenever they want to on FTA.

  6. All that needs to change is that no sports should be forced to be EXCLUSIVE to FTA – so that the AFL could negotiate with Fox and Seven seperately, and not rely on them working together.

    I support the list, because the AFL should stay on FTA, but by stopping the AFL negotiating with Foxtel directly (and stopping Foxtel selling full coverage to Foxtel) it just hurts the most hardcore fans.

  7. Cameron i’m thinking Seven will show the granny delayed so they can put on some Elvis movies lol. They have been a disgrace with the AFL and there’s almost no doubt Nine will get the rights back in 2012.

  8. Most people don’t choice not to have Pay TV they just can’t afford it, luckily I can and would like the option to watch the games LIVE on there or delayed on ch7 with the rest of the country.

  9. Obviously still lots of bad blood hanging over from the C7 case and add into that mix now TIVO, which is in direct competition with FOXTEL IQ HD and I can see this one going on and on! What a great TV show it would make!.

    This is a hard one as ASTAR have a valid point but so do Seven – most people still don’t have pay-TV. Now, if AUSTAR’s argument was being made by Nine or Ten, then there would be some validity in the statement – although both of them have also been guilty of shafting viewers on live sports.

  10. Seven had lost so much credability and this just adds to it. The finals should be broadcast live. At least H&A is a double on Thursday but for footy fans having to wait especially in Perth is not good enough. Seven has sunk and Nine had beter take up the footy rights again in 2012. Seven is showing the match live in Adelaide and Melbourne so thats something. Adelaide viewers even had delayed Crows and Power matches this year which shows how lame Seven is. Wonder if the grand final will be live.

    SEVEN DOES NOT DESERVE THE AFL ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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