Networks lock arms around anti-siphoning list
Free to air networks are against trimming sports events from the anti-siphoning list.
Free to air networks are not about to yield and sports events from the anti-siphoning list if they have their way, amid speculation Communications Minister Mitch Fifield may trim some events for the Pay TV sector.
Free TV Chairman Harold Mitchell said, “It’s a case of here we go again as pay TV attempts to force Australians to pay for sports they currently see for free.
“Millions of Australian sports fans are able to see a range of major sporting events because of the anti-siphoning rules. Any move to force them to pay to watch sports they currently see for free, risks a strong voter backlash.
“The anti-siphoning list consists of ten sports plus the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. It is misleading to talk about the list containing thirteen hundred events.
“Free TV broadcasters show everything we acquire and you only have to look at television over summer to see there is more sport live and free than ever before,” he said.
Free TV claims audiences for sport on Free TV in 2015 were up 11.7 percent in metro and 6.3 percent in regional areas, and cites research by Crosby|Textor that found 88% of respondents believed sporting events should be available to all Australians for free.
“It’s clear that the Australian public do not want to be forced to pay to watch their favourite sports on television,” Mitchell said.
A media report this week claimed the Department of Communications advised the Minister to make minor changes to the list by removing some “minor” events, such as the FA Cup final.
The 2015 FA Cup attracted 63,000 on SBS last June.