Anti-Siphoning List: New live sport rules

Senator Stephen Conroy has announced key changes to the Anti-Siphoning List.

“We’ve always understood how important it is for Australians to watch sport on Free to Air Television.” he said.

“Our most popular and iconic sports will remain free to all Australians.”

No Australian events have been removed from the list.

Two tiers of events will be in place.

Tier A
Tier A will comprise nationally iconic events such as the Melbourne Cup, Bathurst 1000 and finals of major Australian tournaments like the NRL and AFL Premiership. Free-to-air broadcasters will be required to broadcast these events live and in-full, with limited exceptions.

Melbourne Cup
AFL Grand Final
NRL Grand Final
Rugby Union World Cup Final

Cricket:
Each Test match involving Australia, played in Australia
Each Test match involving Australia and England played in the United Kingdom
Each one-day international match involving Australia, played in Australia
Each Twenty20 match involving Australia, played in Australia
ICC Cricket World Cup: semi-finals, final and each match involving Australia
ICC Twenty20 World Cup: final and each match involving Australia

FIFA World Cup: quarter-finals, semi-finals, final and each match involving Australia

Tennis:
Australian Open men’s singles final
Australian Open women’s singles final
A ‘World group’ Davis Cup final tie involving Australia

Motor Sports:
Each race of the F1 Grand Prix held in Australia
Each race of the Moto GP held in Australia
V8 Supercars – Bathurst 1000

Tier B
Tier B will comprise events such as the regular games of the AFL and NRL premierships seasons, and non-finals games of the Australian Open tennis. Free-to-air broadcasters will have the flexibility to televise these events on digital multi-channels (ie AFL in Sydney, NRL in Melbourne). Networks have the flexibility to show sport on a multichannel if they seek to switch to other programming on a primary channel, such as News during a live event. There is no requirement for networks to shift the sport back to the primary channel.

The Summer Olympics event and the Winter Olympics event
The Commonwealth Games event

AFL:
4 matches per round of the AFL premiership season
Each match of the AFL finals series (except the grand final)

NRL:
3 matches per round of the NRL premiership season*
Each match of the NRL finals series (except the grand final)

Rugby League:
Each match of the State of Origin series
Each Test match involving the Australian team, played in Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom (including the Rugby League World Cup)

Rugby Union:
Rugby Union World Cup: quarter-finals, semi-finals and each match involving Australia
Each Test match involving Australia, played in Australia, NZ, SA or as part of the ‘spring tour’

Tennis:
Each match of the Australian Open (except for the men’s singles final and women’s singles final)
Wimbledon: Each men’s and women’s singles quarter-final, semi-final and final
US Open: Each men’s and women’s singles quarter-final, semi-final and final
Each ‘World group’ tie involving Australia played as part of the Davis Cup (excluding a final involving Australia)

Golf:
Each round of the Australian Open
Each round of the Australian Masters
Each round of the United States Masters

Netball:
Each Test match involving the senior Australian team, played in Australia or New Zealand
Netball World Championships: Semi-finals and Finals matches involving the senior Australian team

Football:
All matches of the FIFA World Cup (excluding those on Tier A)
FIFA World Cup qualifiers: each match involving Australia (the Socceroos)

Football:
English Football Association Cup Final
Motorsports
V8 Supercars Championship Series: each race not specified on Tier A

“Allowing broadcasters to use digital multi-channels will see a dramatic increase in the total coverage of sport and give flexibility for broadcasters to show more events live,” Senator Conroy said.

“Broadcasters will have the capacity to televise AFL games in Sydney or NRL games in Melbourne, live on a digital multi-channel, rather than providing it on long delay on their main channel. This will save many hours of sleep for avid fans who happen to live in the wrong city.”

In addition, the reforms will introduce ‘must-offer’ obligations on the free-to-air broadcasters, requiring them to televise anti-siphoning listed events they acquire or offer those rights on to another broadcaster. This will prevent rights to important sporting events going unused.

“No longer can a free-to-air broadcaster purchase an iconic national event, and then not show it at all. In these circumstances, they must now offer it on to another free-to-air broadcaster to show it,” Senator Conroy said.

WA and SA AFL games will be shown live on Free To Air TV. One Friday and Saturday night AFL match, and public holiday games remain on Free to Air.

Pay TV can bid directly for select AFL and NRL competition matches: 4 AFL matches, 5 NRL matches. But the detail on which games is not clear. Changes to the listing of NRL and AFL games will only be made once a regulation is in place or an alternative mechanism to protect the quality of free to air games is agreed by stakeholders.

Events Added:
Twenty20 matches involving Australia, played in Australia
Twenty20 World Cup: matches involving Australia and Final
FIFA World Cup qualifiers involving the senior Australian team (the Socceroos)

Removed:
AFL: 4 of 8 matches per premiership round (these 4 matches are currently shown exclusively on Pay TV)
NRL: 5 of 8 matches per premiership round (these 5 matches are currently shown exclusively on Pay TV)
Golf: British Open
Cricket: One day international matches involving Australia, played in the UK
Cricket: ICC 50 Over World Cup: All matches not involving Australia before the semi-finals
Rugby League: Test match involving the Australian team, played in countries other than Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom
Rugby Union: Rugby Union World Cup: All matches not involving Australia played before the quarter-finals
Rugby Union: Test matches involving Australia outside Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and those tests designated in a ‘spring tour’
Tennis—Wimbledon: All matches other than the men’s and women’s singles quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals matches.
Tennis—French Open: Men’s and women’s quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals matches
Tennis Davis Cup: Non ‘world group’ Davis Cup ties involving Australia
Netball: All matches played by the Australian team outside Australia, NZ & the Netball World Championships (other than a semi final or final involving the Australian team)
Motor sports: Each IndyCar race held in Australia

Olympics will have a minimum of “must show live” hours.

The changes follow heavy lobbying by Free to Air broadcasters, Subscription Television and key sporting bodies and community interests.

Penalties will apply for networks that do not comply with the new rules, but Senator Conroy said there is a “range of options” as to what they might include.

The Greens are supportive of the broad thrust of the changes.

The current list expires on December 31st.

Changes to the anti-siphoning list will be implemented shortly. Senator Conroy said a regulation for the new List will be tabled in Parliament soon.

This post updates.

70 Comments:

  1. Yep and all I was saying in reaction to “SBS is the only network who still has their primary channel in HD” is that no, this doesn’t count. We have no primary channels with HD content. SBS should turn off its HD channel because nobody would notice the difference (after boosting the SD bitrate).

  2. correction, just realised SBS has 3 channels, since SBS1 is transmitted both in HD and SD. Still, you’d think they have the bandwidth for a full HD channel, other networks have full HD even with 3 channels.

  3. ckent, I’m glad we finally got on the same page, going back to my original comment though, all I was saying is that SBS is the only network who still has their primary channel in HD (thus necessitating simulcasts for all other networks when they want to show sport from the list in HD), and that even then it was only 720p, not full HD. i.e. there are no primary channels which are in full HD (and I don’t understand why, given they’re only broadcasting 2 channels – they have bandwidth for it. Maybe they don’t have the equipment?). Even if they got a bunch of 1080i content, my comment is still true, that it is only being broadcast at 720p, so there is no network with a full HD primary. That is all I was saying. Over and out.

  4. Donald, I agree that “if SBS had a decent amount of 1080i content” that the SBS HD channel would look better than the SBS1 (SD) channel. I also agree that it looks better right now. But why are we talking about 1080i source material when SBS has next to zero? Why are we talking about 720p source material when SBS has none?

    Please let’s talk about what happens when there’s only 576i content, which is the case now. If they deactivated the SBS HD channel and boosted the SD channels to a high bitrate, the SD channels would look just as good as the SBS HD channel does now. I’m talking about the SBS HD channel specifically, not ONE HD, because SBS HD has nothing but 576i source material on it. (What you say about ONE HD is true).

  5. P.S. in regards to yur last comment, just to also restate the the bitrate on One is the same for 1080i and 720p shows, and no, the 720p show don’t look as good as the 1080i shows, even at the same bitrate. Resolution is what matters. Can’t believe this needs to be spelt out.

  6. You’re just repeating yourself now. I already addressed the issue of content resolution in my comparison of shows on One. Let me spell it out for you – even if SBS had a decent amount of 1080i content (you’re saying mostly they don’t, but even if they did, ok? The fact they mostly don’t isn’t relevant to my point), they are broadcasting in 720p, and it will look worse than if broadcast at 1080i. You can see this effect for yourself on One, as per my comments (One has a mixture of 1080i and 720p content). 7, 9, and 10 have full HD channels, SBS does not (nor does the ABC). The whole point to having more lines of resolution is to have a better picture – if this weren’t true then it would be completely pointless having “HD” to begin with, since everything would look the same anyway. They don’t look the same, because the SBS and ABC HD channels are a lower resolution (even with 1080i content).

  7. “of course a 720p broadcast, regardless of original content resolution, is going to look worse (and it does)”

    No, it’s not “of course”, because everything SBS1 broadcasts is only available in 576i from their studios or libraries. The only things they have ever had available in higher than 576i resolution was Ashes and World Cup (not including replays). For every other thing, 576i is only available at SBS. If the SD bitrate was increased after turning off the HD channel, you would have the same quality result you’re getting on SBS HD now.

  8. ckent, I was the one making a point in the first place (that the SBS HD channel isn’t full HD), so it’s not me who’s missing anything. As I said, 720p content broadcast on One looks visibly inferior to 1080i content broadcast on One – this is on the same channel with the same bitrate, so the only difference is the resolution – so of course a 720p broadcast, regardless of original content resolution, is going to look worse (and it does). It’s got a 3rd less lines. i.e. less detail. You can increase the bitrate as much as you want and it’ll still be a 3rd less lines of resolution. There’s a reason we have the term “full HD”…

  9. Donald, you’re missing the point. Nothing (except two previous sports events as mentioned) is in native HD on SBS.

    The only reason it looks better (on your 60″ plasma just as on mine too) is because the HD channel is taking bandwidth from the low-bitrate SBS multiplex. If they turned off their HD channel after February 12 each year (as they’re permitted to do) they could have an SD channel that looked just as good, and improve everything else they transmit too.

  10. @Ararat, the legislation covers corporations (what the networks can or can’t do), not indiviudals in different states (which state are we going to consider a network to be a resident of?). If we’re going to take the quoted part of the consititution literally then perhaps state governments themselves are illegal (since that does cause there to be different laws in different states).

    @ckent, my point is exactly that there is a difference in picture between SBS HD and One. If you can’t see the difference then it’s not my problem you don’t have a good enough TV to see the difference between a full HD broadcast and one that is less than full HD. I have a 60″ plasma, which also upscales, and the difference is quite obvious (to the point that even on One alone I can tell the difference between a 1080i NFL game – CBS and NBC – and a 720p NFL game – ESPN and NFL network – never mind the difference between One and SBS HD). 1080 lines of resolution is 50% more lines than 720, and also being the maximum therefore don’t need to be upscaled. SBS is “HD” in that it’s 720, but it’s not full HD, and you can see it just by looking at it. Ditto for ABC’s HD channel, which is also only 720p.

  11. Yes channel 9 will be able to flick the coverage for to gem for example when the news comes on but it must be Live and in Full. Senator conroy mentioned this in his press conference yesterday. Even though the event is in tier A they can still do it. That is where the with limited exception clause comes in

  12. ckent

    I believe SBS has gone to HD programming for some sporting events, such as the Ashes 18 months ago, the Football World Cup and possibly the Tour De France. So it has shown for some sport it is willing to do HD.

    I think we will end up with situations where by games will be live on HD multi channels, with analysis either side of the game, and just the game shown on the SD “Main Channel”, perhaps on delay to better fit the programming ect.

    I hope the provision is in there for different content during the olympics, commie games ect to be shown on different networks, so swimming on one channel and athletics on another ect.

  13. @Donald: SBS may be showing its main channel in 720p but it is 100% upconverted. The value of the SBS HD service is no more or less than you’re getting from ONE or GEM.

    @RoD: Yes Conroy did sound a little confused on Newsradio talking to the existing overrun provisions (cricket at 6pm, shifting for the news, etc), but I think he was trying to explain that since 2001 it’s been possible to put the *news* on a multichannel if the sport (any sport, need not be on the list) overruns its scheduled time (but not if being planned to clash). The new allowance, if I interpret correctly, is to allow the sport to go onto the multichannel instead … but this was always bound to be the case by 2013 onwards, when the concept of “main channel” ceased anyway.

    @billyray: The constitutional section you’re quoting refers to what the states can do to residents of the other states, if they move. Think of it as open borders policy. Back in 1898 there was a lot of thought going into the power of the big states imposing upon each other or the little states; nobody seriously considered Canberra to become such a force. (An interesting study in comparative constitutional law between Canada and Australia and the counter-intuitive long-term effects of subtractive versus additive powers transferred within the federation … a discussion for another time).

  14. I’m confused…does this mean that the tri-nations rugby and spring tour must now be on FTA and (most probably) delayed? This would be a disater…noone can cover rugby as good as foxtel.

    I’m not holding my breath that the State of Origin will be live in WA.

    I can’t help but think this is going to give me ther choice of Less live sport on TV in WA.

  15. So this should mean that AFL games can be shown on One HD, with regular content on Ten? Sounds good to me. Such a waste having AFL, Before the Game, etc on One and Ten at the same time.

  16. Rod: that’s a worry. Sound like Conroy was confused about Ashes being on Tier A or B. Only yesterday morning he told ABC Radio the list c-o-u-l-d n-o-t legislate for networks to play sport live. Hours later he delivered Tier A which demands live. Did nervy backbenchers get in his ear in between?

  17. With all Tier A needing to be broadcasted “In live and full” does that mean yesterdays situation with 9 going to the news missing the last 7 overs of the test will not happen again? How will this work with the Perth test? Will Chanel 9 needed to broadcast their news at the tea break?

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