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.
Seven, 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.