Seven will charge viewers to view a ‘premium’ app of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, at $19.99 for 11 days of action, raising questions about the relevance of the anti-siphoning list.
The anti-siphoning list includes key sporting events that should be available free to the general public. The Commonwealth Games is on the list, a Tier B event that can be shown on multichannels.
While Seven will offer a free app with Live feeds of Seven, 7TWO and 7mate channels in SD, it will charge $19.99 for the “Access All Areas” HD version with up to 20 live event channels and less commercial content.
Seven has previously charged for premium apps for the Australian Open and Winter Olympics.
Bruce Meagher from Subscription TV lobby group ASTRA, says Free to Air broadcasters can’t have it both ways in regards the anti-siphoning rules.
“You can’t on one hand insist that the anti-siphoning rules must remain in place to ensure that Sport is available free, and then use the rules to obtain a privileged bargaining position to acquire rights and put them behind a paywall. That is simply unsustainable and shouldn’t be permitted,” he told TV Tonight.
“It shows the absurdity of the whole regime. In this day and age where the whole idea that Free to Air broadcasting should have that privilege is ridiculous. You would be better off scrapping the anti-siphoning list altogether, or restricting it to those events that are truly iconic.
“You would be hard-pressed to say that the bulk of the Commonwealth Games are regarded by Australians as matters of iconic national significance.”
Foxtel was also denied a seat at the negotiating table in the first round of Cricket broadcasting rights. Meagher notes the rules do not apply to other platforms.
“The rules only catch Foxtel, effectively, because they only apply to Subscription Television. They don’t apply to telcos, Google, Facebook, Amazon or any of them.”
Updated: Seven said in a statement, “The Anti-Siphoning rules are acting exactly as intended, ensuring significant events are available to all Australians live and free on broadcast television.
“Seven will be streaming over 320 hours of the Commonwealth Games on its broadcast channels, including every minute of the key events, live and free, with many more hours being streamed for free through 7plus.”