Commercial TV pushes for sports on digital channels

Commerical networks served up one more message on the day that public submissions closed for the anti-siphoning list review.

RafaelSeven, Nine and TEN have again pushed for sports on the anti-siphoning list to be played on digital multi-channels.

Their plea came yesterday following the end of public submissions to the review being conducted by Senator Stephen Conroy.

Wayne Goss, Chairman of Free TV said “The public policy principle underlying the antisiphoning rules remains sound; that all Australians are able to watch major sporting events on TV for free.”

“The current review is a great opportunity for the government to allow more sport for free on television.”

The Pay TV lobby via ASTRA has lobbied for a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ approach. Its campaign is not looking to shift current sports from Free to air to Pay Television, but to have access to those sports which are not aired by free to air networks. Last month viewers in Melbourne were furious when the Nine Network denied them the chance to watch the NRL Grand Final Presentation after Melbourne Storm won the premiership trophy.

Pay TV also says it is denied an equal seat at the table when bidding for rights. Indeed, the Productivity Commission has slammed the list of sports offered first to free-to-air networks as “inherently anti-competitive”.

But Free TV Australia says the public interest in free access outweighs the claims of Pay’s profitable business models and encourages digital take-up.

“Now that more than half of Australian households have converted to digital television it’s time to remove the restrictions on free to air broadcasters showing listed sports on their new digital multi-channels”.

“This will not only provide more choice for viewers, but will help drive digital take-up as Australia starts the move to digital only services from next year,” Mr Goss said.

Seven is yet to launch its digital channel.

30 Responses

  1. “Last month viewers in Melbourne were furious when the Nine Network denied them the chance to watch the NRL Grand Final Presentation after Melbourne Storm won the premiership trophy.” That’s because Nine does not hold Australia-wide copyright to show certain sections of the match live; i.e., they only have the rights to show the entire NRL match telecasts live to viewers in NSW, ACT, NT, Queensland, and those areas of Victoria, Tasmania and SA served by Imparja, but not in Melbourne or the rest of Australia (that’s my understand of it, believe me, as a Storm fan I’m pretty disgusted by this restriction too). I hope Nine does get to negotiate national live NRL telecast rights for the entire Australia.

  2. I doubt channel Seven Ten and Nine will stick with it in the long term playing sports on there digital channels,there main priority is there main channels,they don’t have the money for starters.FTA has no right to grab sports that they won’t show,this is where Foxtel can take up the slack.Do the FTA want to take on the local basketball or Soccer leagues,well if they did both sports would’nt survive to long.Those adds FTA has been running have been laughable Foxtel rules.I’m a AFL watcher and don’t watch the basketball or soccer

  3. The English Premiere League became the best, most entertaining league in the world once it was taken off the list and exposed to true market forces. With all the talk of the NRL clubs being short of cash I’d see it as the only way for most Australian sports to survive – just see the progress of Football since the deal with Fox Sports in the last 5 years.

    I see no reason in their past behavior to screening sport as to why the FTA’s should get another free kick with sports rights. Only a few years back they set up this scheme to protect themselves from multi-channeling, now they are arguing the opposite but only for themselves.

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