Finally Full HD TV Broadcasts On Free To Air, Will It Affect Foxtel Subscriptions?
The amendment which is set to go before parliament today could see Fox Sports customers who have signed up to get Full HD Sport Vs the 720p broadcasts currently put to air on the free to air stations desert Foxtel for expanded NRL and AFL games on free to air following recent multibillion dollar deals for Sports Rights by the Seven and Nine Networks.
The proposed amendment will allow free to air networks to broadcast their primary channels in high-definition a move that could also drive sales of larger TV’s claim analysts.
The Abbott government’s joint party room approved the amendment today and is likely to introduce it to Parliament this morning.
It is understood the amendment has the support of the Labor opposition and it will pass before the NRL and AFL Grand Finals in October.
The Australian newspaper which is owned by News Corporation who yesterday was part of a consortium that bid $1.3 Billion for the rights to AFL games.
It is understood all three commercial channels are investigating shifts of their primary channels to HD after seeing the multichannel success of sport on their HD channels, including recent Ashes tests on Nine’s Gem and the coverage of AFL matches in Perth on 7mate.
The recent Ashes series, and the previous one from the UK, set ratings records for all multichannels, with metro audiences beyond 800,000. The amendment lifts the restriction on broadcasting Nine, Seven or Ten in HD so, at the very least, some major sporting events are likely to be simulcast on their HD and standard definition channels.
Yesterday Rupert Murdoch directly intervened and pushed the value of Australian Football League broadcast rights to unprecedented heights, agreeing for News Corporation to pay about $1.3 billion of a record $2.508 billion six-year deal with the AFL.
News Corp joined with Seven West Media and Telstra to sign the biggest sports rights deal in Australian television history, securing vital pay-TV rights for Foxtel however it is not known whether this will be enough to hold Foxtel’s current subscriber base which is already under threat from Netflix.
Seven will telecast an average of 3.5 matches per round on free-to-air TV in a deal that will begin in 2017, while Foxtel will maintain its rights for all nine matches and Telstra the digital rights.
Ten Network Chief Executive Officer, Paul Anderson said his network “welcomes the Government’s proposal to remove the restriction on broadcasting our main channel in high definition.”
“The legislation is catching up with technology,” he said. “This is great news for viewers, as it will allow us to enhance our service by presenting premium content on the main TEN channel in HD – for free. It will take time to move the main channel to HD, but we are already working on the technical and rights issues.”