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
“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.”
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.