No TV broadcast for Mardi Gras in 2012

Mardi Gras misses out on a TV broadcast this year after asking broadcasters to compete for the rights.

Foxtel will not be broadcasting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade this weekend after a broadcasting deal could not be reached with organisers.

New Mardi Gras asked Foxtel to bid for a tender with Free to Air broadcasters, despite Arena airing the parade live to air for the last 3 years.

A Foxtel spokesperson told TV Tonight, “As is their prerogative, the New Mardi Gras decided to call for tenders for the 2012 parade. While still presenting Foxtel with an opportunity to pitch, New Mardi Gras advised of a community preference for the coverage to be undertaken by a free-to-air broadcaster.

“This is naturally disappointing to us, given the support and exposure we have given the event.”

Last week after no television broadcaster had been reached, New Mardi Gras announced an official Optus-sponsored one hour broadcast would be made available on its official website 24 hours after the Parade.

While the Parade grabbed the nation’s attention when it first aired on the ABC back in 1994, it’s been a long time since it was a Free to Air ratings hit.

In 1997 TEN gave the event its first commercial broadcast. It has been on Foxtel across many years, occasionally as a pay per view event. In 2008 it was also absent from screens, while one year it was only available as a webcast.

This year Kylie will lead the Parade, but only rage will mark the occasion that night, with a “Mardi Gras Special” of music videos.

Foxtel’s spokesperson added, “Foxtel did not tender for the parade but will remain supportive of the Gay & Lesbian community and to that end, we will continue to make airtime available to organisations such as the AIDS Trust Of Australia and ACON, for community service announcements and the promotion of various community events.”

Comment has been sought from New Mardi Gras.

30 Responses

  1. I disagree stongly that Mardi Gras has lost its relevance. I still remember being 13-14 years old, having the house to myself, and getting to watch the parade for the first time in my life on free-to-air. For a baby lesbian living in a reasonably small WA town, with no hope of getting to see the parade in person, the chance to watch it on TV was the next best thing.

    It may seem like an overly commercialised waste of time to some people, but you’re seriously underestimating the effect it can have on people, especially teenagers. Sure, kids these days may have it better than any of us that came before them, but it’s still not all sunshine and roses. For a teenager who is still in the closet, who’s questioning who they are, who may not have anyone to turn to or talk about things with, getting to see such a celebration is a huge thing.

    The part that’s stuck with me all these years isn’t the naked body parts, the sponsored ads, the flash and pomp of the outfits, or the big guest names. It’s the idea that you can just celebrate and be exactly who you are. That’s still just as relevant today, and that’s the part of MG I’d be sad about losing if we ever reach the stage where the parade is put out to pasture for good.

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