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Free TV campaigns on sport digital rights, but wait…

Your favourite shows are going behind paywalls, says Free TV. And sometimes by the networks themselves.

Free TV Australia has launched a new advertising campaign, pushing for changes to the anti-siphoning bill.

While the bill prevents subscription streaming services such as Amazon, Apple and Disney from buying exclusive terrestrial broadcast rights to sporting events like the Olympics, AFL, NRL and Cricket, they can still acquire exclusive digital rights ahead of Free to Air.

Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said, “Australians deserve to know that their access to free news, sport and other content is under threat unless the federal government acts.

“The bill before parliament correctly acknowledges this threat but needs crucial changes if we’re going to keep access to TV fair and equitable.

“As it stands, people who watch free sport through the internet have no guarantees paid streaming services won’t buy up the rights and lock broadcasts behind paywalls.

“We’re already seeing this with Amazon buying rights to ICC cricket tournaments including the next Cricket World Cup.”

Free TV has also called for a reduction in the implementation period of Prominence laws from 18 months to a maximum of six months, amongst other key changes.

“The bill in its current form also sets an unnecessarily long timeframe to secure the availability of free local TV services on smart TVs.

“These two major oversights must be fixed to protect the free universal access of local TV services and sport for every Australian.”

But the campaign doesn’t address how networks themselves have been putting Free to Air shows behind paywalls too.

10 has moved some of its titles such as Five Bedrooms and The Secrets She Keeps behind a Paramount+ paywall months ahead of their FTA premiere. NCIS: Sydney was also announced for 10 in 2023 but is delayed for FTA in favour of a Paramount+ premiere. Nine has similarly commissioned joint Nine / Stan dramas which are yet to screen on Nine.

8 Responses

  1. So if I’m reading correctly – the networks are crying wolf about sports – while happily slashing local content in favour for cheap nasty reality tv for decades, happily allowing streamers to foot the bill for scripted content – selling their own suite to said streamers forcing Australians to fork out big $$ to watch anything of any substance – but no, we’re the ones that have to support them
    Ridiculous- the commercial networks sold their souls a long time ago

  2. This is so hypocritical and wrong. Of course as David pointed out, FTA providers regularly push their own content to their paywall. Not just dramas though. They are talking about sport, right? How many A-league games are on 10 or 10+? How many are exclusive to Paramount+? How many games from 3 major grand slams – French open, Wimbledon and US open – are on 9 or 9now and how many are on Stan? Laver Cup is Stan only.
    It sucks but paying for sports is how the world runs. UK, US – you name it, everyone has paytv exclusive sports.
    Also the sporting bodies benefit from competition and money. Take an example, cricket. CA regularly makes losses on our women side. Yet, CA has been among the first out there who invested in women’s cricket early. And look at the rewards – we win every tournament. The talent pool is enormous and the new generation excellent. Now, diminish how much CA earns from broadcast deals and can they invest so much in things that don’t return well in money terms?

  3. There is absolutely no reason why sport should not be behind a pay wall. News, television and music is all behind paid streaming services. Sport should be included to. It makes it fair to those who have to pay for those services.

    1. “have to pay”? No one is forced to pay for anything. It’s always a choice. If we band together and refuse to join their silly games the paywall will vanish and everything will come back to FTA. Viewers Unite. What do we want? When do we want it?

      1. And that’s when you have a return to amateur sport. FTA sport is a dinosaur from bygone era. Happy to pay for my sport on TV and the quality that comes from that.

      2. Much rather pay for Kayo, no ads, better commentary, including commentary while 7 is playing advertising during AFL, a much better experience for a minimal price.

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