Seven: ASTRA comments “bored us rigid.”

The war of words between ASTRA and the Seven Network over sports and the anti-siphoning list continues.

Today the Seven Network was all puffed out of arguments, issuing a blunt, two-sentence response to the three page press release from ASTRA.

Seven simply said, quote, “ASTRA’s latest comments have bored us rigid. We’re so bored we can’t even raise the enthusiasm to reply.” Unquote.

You gotta love a bared-boned, dinky-di Australian reaction from the network, and one that is totally outside traditional corporate responses. TV Tonight wishes we had more tell-it-like-it-is responses from our networks! Maybe we should just ban everyone from Press Releases longer than two sentences.

For the record, Seven’s boredom is over ASTRA again claiming that too many sporting events are being delayed to viewers including AFL, NRL, Netball and Olympics.

Meanwhile FreeTV Australia, the body that represents the commercial networks, turned the argument back on the Pay TV industry, citing TEN’s acquisition of the New World International Netball series as proof that the anti-siphoning list works. It was much longer than two sentences.

Everybody play nice, now!

Update: And here is the way the same info was reported by News Limited. Nowhere near as much fun.

ASTRA Press Release:
ASTRA has cited the significantly delayed coverage of this weekend’s football finals and the recent delays in the broadcast of the Australia-New Zealand international netball match as a powerful reason why the Federal Government should adopt a new approach to restrictive sports rights regulation.

Fans of NRL defending premiers Melbourne Storm will have to wait four hours in Victoria to watch their team play Brisbane in the elimination semi-final this weekend, instead getting a movie called Take The Lead and drama series Fringe.

NRL fans will have to wait an hour in Sydney and Brisbane before the elimination semi-final goes to air on Friday between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors.

Saturday’s second elimination semi between Brisbane and reigning premiers Melbourne will be delayed in Melbourne until 11.30pm on Network Nine, four hours after the game actually starts.

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

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

And despite having the rights to broadcast the AFL Preliminary Finals live, FTA networks will delay the broadcast by up to two hours.

Friday’s Preliminary final between defending premiers Geelong and the Western Bulldogs will be delayed by Network Seven by an hour across New South Wales, Queensland and Perth, with AFL fans again forced to watch programs like Better Homes and Gardens and Deal or No Deal instead.

On Saturday night Network Ten will show the movie Stuart Little instead of the second preliminary final between Hawthorn and St Kilda will be delayed by two hours in NSW and Queensland.

ASTRA CEO Debra Richards says AFL fans in NSW and Queensland in particular are being treated extremely poorly by the current legislation and conduct of FTA networks.

“The solution to providing more live sport on television and the choice of more live sport on subscription television is to remove events from the list that aren’t currently shown live and nationally, with all broadcasters to compete fairly for the rights to broadcast these events.”

“Despite having the ability to broadcast these matches live, the FTA networks continue the delaying tactics. It’s good enough for them to show the grand final live nationally, but not so for the matches that actually determine the two teams that make the grand final.”

Netball fans are also up in arms over yesterday’s match between Australia and arch rival New Zealand being delayed until after 11pm on Network Ten last night, with further delays in Adelaide and Perth. Fans won’t be any more pleased when they find the second test scheduled at 11pm across Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales on Saturday night.

“The FTA networks are letting down sports fans with their delayed coverage. They are allowed to do this because they bought the rights to show these sports under the cover of the antisiphoning list which is in urgent need of reform,” Ms Richards said.

ASTRA’s proposal to reform the restrictive anti-siphoning list would benefit all Australian sports fans and lead to:
• More sport on television;
• Allow FTA networks to keep what is currently shown on FTA television;
• Allow all broadcasters to compete for events not currently shown;
• Encourage competition for sports rights and;
• 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 gold medal winners Steve Hooker and Matthew Mitcham.

FreeTV Australia Press Release:
The pay TV lobby’s latest, predictable attack on the anti-siphoning list proves once again it will go to any lengths to force Australian viewers to pay for sport.

Peak industry body Free TV Australia said today that the anti-siphoning list, which is designed to ensure that all Australians are able to see major sporting events for free on television, continues to achieve the best outcome for Australians.

Free TV CEO, Julie Flynn, says that without the anti-siphoning list, Australians would be forced to pay to watch their teams take part in the NRL and AFL finals or to watch the Australian Diamonds in the New World International Netball series.

“The anti-siphoning list ensures that all Australians are able to enjoy these sports, and not just the 25% who choose to pay up to $131 per month for subscription television,” said Ms Flynn.

“This is an exciting time of year for sports fans, and the latest bleating from ASTRA underlines the ongoing importance of the anti-siphoning list.

“Time and time again ASTRA misrepresents the anti-siphoning scheme in an effort to force Australian families to pay to watch major sporting events and ASTRA has fought to prevent more free sport becoming available. Contrary to ASTRA’s claims, ACMA’s independent monitoring has confirmed there is absolutely no hoarding of sport on free-to-air television,” Ms Flynn said.

Ms Flynn adds “ASTRA’s recent attacks on free-to-air TV coverage of the Olympics and the football finals should leave Australian sports fans under no illusions as to what is at stake if ASTRA succeeds in its efforts to undermine the anti-siphoning list.”

Seven Press Release:
Statement from Seven in response to latest ASTRA statements on free-to-air television sports coverage.

ASTRA’s latest comments have bored us rigid.

We’re so bored we can’t even raise the enthusiasm to reply.

16 Comments:

  1. Next year 7,9,10 will have a second SD Channel (similar to ABC2), like the ABC showing the ParaOlympics, 7 and 10 could go that route with the AFL and show games Live. The other option is to allow STV to start the Games Live while the FTA’s show it on Delay as now, if people vote by parting with dollars to get STV to watch Live then it is the FTA Networks own fault for not catering for there viewers wants.

    The one thing that puzzles me with 9 and the NRL is Friday Night Football in Melbourne, they have had trouble all year competing against Better Homes And Gardens, throwing all sorts of shows up against it, why not give NRL a shot, they have already paid dollars for it, it won’t cost them more (the feed is there).

    Even if it only rates as highly as New Zealanders Gone Crazy On Their Motorways, where is the harm in that, 100 to 1 lasted 30 secs and yet they still won’t even give the NRL a go,. What are they worried it will work and stifle AFL on another Channel, do they deem it not Melbourne enough (even though we are suppposely the Sports Capital) or that it’ll cause arguments between Couples over what to watch.

    Where’s the harm Channel 9 Melbourne, you already show it late at Night, you already own the rights it has already been paid for (you could offer the same rates to advertisers as they pay now for Non-Australian Content while you wait and see if it takes off), nothing else is working on Friday Nights, why the reluctance to show it and give it a try?

  2. I agree 100% with Guy. If Nine and Seven don’t want to show the game live on their SD channel, why not sure it live on their HD channel? Every week Nine show the ‘other’ Footy Show at 8:30pm on the HD channel (at least in Qld, not sure about other states)

    And if they don’t want to show it live on either channel then Fox should get the automatic right to show it live too (I’m not a Foxtel subscriber btw)

  3. Well what about Channel 9 last night with the Warriors V Roosters match. It started officially 6:30pm EST and yet we had to wait until 7:30pm at least in the eastern states to see the match. For crying out loud these are finals people. I understand Seven delaying the finals until 8:30pm in Sydney and Brisbane so at least BHG can be seen as it rates so much better but when it counted seven showed the Sydney match from 7:30pm.

    Still i am not a fan of footy matches being shown on delay but in saying this i dont want them to be removed from FTA altogether. They have the extra digital channels so if they cant show them live on the main channel why not show them live on the secondary channel or at least HD channels.

  4. How about:

    “I know your show is meant to start on time, but our 6pm is your 6pm, our 7.30 is your 7.35, our 8.30 is your 8.38, our 9.30 is your 9.42. Damn clocks! And while we’re here, ACA and TT still have integrity.”

  5. Maybe Seven would like this type of response from the viewers.

    We’re so bored we can’t even raise the enthusiasm to BUY from your advertisers as you obviously do not care about the public.

    Hang on a sec, might just do something good.
    Ring your advertisers and tell them why I am “picketing them”.

    N.B. Footy show sponsors have not seen any of my money for years due to their crap.

    I doubt i am the only one that has morals or is tad annoyed and votes with their pocket.

  6. Crash Investigation Unit and Medical Emergency win their hour as Hole in the Wall falls through a hole in the floor and that flushing sound hits Kenny’s World. Bondi Rescue beyond rescue. Criminal Minds blows up the highly-hyped hope Fringe. Criminal Minds wins in total viewers and all viewers under 55. Gordon Ramsay tanks. Dance stumbles.”

    Hahahaha thats hilarious. They should continue pumping these out – thats great

  7. [quote]I’ve said it before and I will say this again: ASTRA forgets about TV ratings. It forgot that last week’s AFL semi-finals (shown on delay) were thrashed in the ratings by rugby league finals in NSW and Queensland. The same thing will happen again if the AFL preliminary finals are shown live in NSW and Queensland as the organisation has called for.
    As for netball, when Ten picked up the rights to the current NZ-Australia test series it realised that the times had been fixed, and the network and Netball Australia have both said that from next year, netball matches will be shown at a more decent timeslot.
    [/quote]

    Which is really ASTRA’s main point – if a sport doesn’t get good enough ratings to justify live FTA coverage, then put it on pay-tv so that the fans of that sport can watch it live.

  8. Maybe Astra keep making the same statements because networks like Seven are just as crap as ever…

    Delaying the AFL Prelim Final into Sydney tonight (when every Friday night game this season was live on Fox Sports Plus) is another example of how FTA networks coverage is woeful.

  9. I’ve said it before and I will say this again: ASTRA forgets about TV ratings. It forgot that last week’s AFL semi-finals (shown on delay) were thrashed in the ratings by rugby league finals in NSW and Queensland. The same thing will happen again if the AFL preliminary finals are shown live in NSW and Queensland as the organisation has called for.
    As for netball, when Ten picked up the rights to the current NZ-Australia test series it realised that the times had been fixed, and the network and Netball Australia have both said that from next year, netball matches will be shown at a more decent timeslot.

  10. Someone with a sense of humour must be writing Seven’s releases lately.. this paragraph from their daily ratings summary for Wednesday made me laugh:

    “Crash Investigation Unit and Medical Emergency win their hour as Hole in the Wall falls through a hole in the floor and that flushing sound hits Kenny’s World. Bondi Rescue beyond rescue. Criminal Minds blows up the highly-hyped hope Fringe. Criminal Minds wins in total viewers and all viewers under 55. Gordon Ramsay tanks. Dance stumbles.”

  11. I honestly don’t get the whole “anti-siphoning” thing. Why is sport so sacred that it is protected by law? Why only certain sports? And why not particular drama shows, for example?

    Why is it okay for Foxtel to “siphon” particular US drama series, leaving me with no choice but to be ripped off by them or to “illegally” download them in order to see them? What’s so special about football etc that makes it an inalienable right for Australians to watch them free?

    Why does nobody ever question any of this?

    If it’s a free market, it should be a free market across the board.

  12. If we are seeking to ridicule the Seven press release:

    ASTRA’s comments have bored us rigid. We are quite impressed as we thought we were the most boring in Australia. – Channel Seven Spokesperson

  13. I have to agree with ASTRA’s position here, from the FreeTV media release:

    “The anti-siphoning list ensures that all Australians are able to enjoy these sports, and not just the 25% who choose to pay up to $131 per month for subscription television,” said Ms Flynn.

    My father pays an extra $13 a month so he can watch the NRL games live in Tasmania, yet the finals series are not shown live because Nine holds the rights. If Nine doesn’t want to show it live in non-NRL markets like Victoria and Tasmania, then why can’t another channel do so? They do that with AFL football, why not all codes.

    Show it, or lose it is my opinion. This hoarding behaviour of the FTA networks is simply greedy and prohibits sports fans from enjoying their sports.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.