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Paris Olympics: “worst time zone… substantial losses”

Seven boss believes Paris games will be "very, very difficult" for Nine financially with an unfriendly timezone.

Seven CEO James Warburton in his results presentation to analysts this week was asked about Seven’s revenue share being impacted by Nine having broadcast rights to the Olympics from 2024 – 2032.

Warburton said it was up to Nine to do the job that Seven has been able to do with the Olympics in recent years.

“I mean, ultimately, it’s the worst time zone for viewing in this market since London – particularly in terms of Paris. A lot of the finals a lot of the disciplines are between 4:30am, sort of 2:30 to 4:30 am. So it doesn’t really have the appetite of the games,” he said.

“But more importantly, it’s just the losses that we incurred during the Olympics as much as we loved it, and obviously, the losses that that our competitor will incur. There’s no doubt Brisbane will be absolutely magnificent, but we think the games preceding it will be very, very difficult and will make substantial losses, in terms of our maths.”

Nine’s $305m deal for games in Paris, Milan, Los Angeles and Brisbane includes all audio and visual rights.

With revenue to come from several platforms, Nine is yet to confirm if Stan Sport will be used for some events. But Nine  CEO Mike Sneesby insists Free to Air remains the focus.

“The approach is different for Nine because our platforms are unique in terms of our reach and diversity of platforms. You will note in the release, that the rights that we have, under this agreement, are very broad, and allow us to distribute the audio visual content right across all of our platforms,” he has said previously.

“So the calculation approach to working out returns and forecasting what we think the revenues look like, philosophically is exactly the same. And the majority of the revenue that we expect, for the Olympic Games will still be through advertising revenue, but of course, across a more diverse range of platforms.”

20 Responses

  1. James Warburton seems to have spent most of his time talking about his competitors, rather than his own strategy and plans for 7 (i.e. More of the same). What he might be overlooking is that 9 and 10 in are now multi platform businesses…even 10 now has a subscription service in P+ but 7 does not. The main point is 9 can spread the costs over multiple games (which will probably with the accounting and financials) and the rights are for all audio and visual media – 9 aren’t limited to free video streaming to monetise these rights.

      1. Certainly not meant as complaint about you David, more a general observation that the main focus seems to have been about his comments on 10 as “the third player” and now 9.

    1. The Rugby World Cup is also in France, but wont be stopping fans tuning in during the early hours. Nine will no doubt have a dedicated Olympics channel, plus a streaming channel to provide the extra content which wont be attracting the ad revenue. Nine probably could have done a better job of the 2002 FIFA men’s football World Cup, the SBS’s soccer icon Johnny Warren said,” I don’t know how someone could walk in and only take 16 games. It’s like walking into the Olympics and saying, ‘We’ll take the athletics, the swimming, the soccer and basketball and you can have the rest’. We were all devastated at SBS. To see someone else who hasn’t done anything for the game, ever, suddenly showing it to an audience built by SBS is a bit hard to take”. Johnny was right, commercial channels like 9 make these commercial decisions even though they don’t specialise in the sport being shown, the SBS should have had full rights to the event, but this is the world we live in.

  2. Olympics have been slowly losing their lustre ever since Sydney. There are so many other popular major sporting competitions/tournaments between Olympics and cities seem to opting out on bidding due to the rising expenses of hosting it and the loss of interest in the games.

  3. Paris is not an issue. As a tennis fan, 11am match at Roland Garros is 7pm AEST. Los Angeles, on the other hand, will air during the day where most of us will be at work or school.

  4. Nine has eyes on the prize which is Brisbane 2032 and nothing compares to a home games (I think Seven said similar about the Womens’ world cup), even more so if Australia does really well. Yes, Paris and LA may have much much lower returns and expected losses but that will all be forgotten by 2032.

    Just hope (beyond 2032) that hosting an Olympics will still have the value for money proposition and doesn’t go the way of the Commonwealth games.

    1. Australia have just become less successful but the build up to Brisbane will reignite any lost interest and bring in funding to support athletes moving forward too – no reason the Brisbane games won’t be as big as Sydney. The last week has shown the audiences are very much still there.

  5. Paris actually isn’t that bad a time zone. 6pm to Midnight EST is 10am to 4pm Paris time. It’s LA that’s the killer – our primetime is overnight there.

    1. Going by those times swimming finals will be on after midnight Australia time. That is the event Australia wins majorly of their medals. Well past my bedtime

  6. It’s going to mean that the Today show might need to take a break during the Paris games. Though as a network, you’d probably rather have the games than not.

    1. I would assume given the 8 hour time difference and events running from 9am-11pm Paris time (5pm-7am AEST), that live coverage will run on 9 and 9Gem 1700-1800 then break for news and shift coverage to 9Go 1800-1900, then all night coverage on 9/9Gem from 1900 – 0600 and finish the last hour just on 9Gem 0600-0700. Would also assume other commitments such as NRL will run on 9Gem in NSW/QLD (with olympics on 9Go) and NRL on 9Go in southern states.

      1. For the sake of an hour they might as well just start Today late – it’ll be Olympics dominated anyway then likely followed by highlights of overnight. Is also surfing in Tahiti which will be more timezone friendly.

  7. Paris is a big loss maker, but the 2028 Games in LA will be significantly huge loss maker due to timezone difference Therefore, primetime events like swimming, athletics, gymnastics, and other events will have to be shown during the day. If Nine broadcasts the 2028 Games, many shows in the arvo will be impacted.
    Nine lost a lot of money after the 2010 and 2012 Games in Vancouver and London respectively due to timezone differences. Nearly most of the 2010 Winter Games were shoved under a paywall. Nine only showed highlights of the coverage.

  8. Warburton is right, it isn’t easy to make money out of the @l^mp!cs. Seven even lost money on Sydney. And it will be tempting for Nine to put content behind a paywall on Stan, but it was as disaster when Fox Sports tried that when they partnered 7. They ended up giving coverage away to subscribers. It was the only time I got to watch the fencing and entire basketball games. Nine has gambled that flattening Seven and Ten for a fortnight a few times over the next decade will be worth the cost. Warburton clearly doesn’t like it.

  9. Our primetime is their daytime so Nine will be able to screen live and free coverage on multiple channels across the competition right? While the ‘best’ events might be in the early hours of the morning there will still be plenty of live free and exclusive coverage I thought in primetime.

  10. What did that analyst seriously expect Warburton to respond with, a former long-time rights holder and bitter rival, no matter what losses/time zone… A bit of sour grapes?

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