Home > Latest News > OPINION:How Desperate Is Free To Air TV, When They Resort To Irrelevant US Football Data To Pitch The Federal Government

OPINION:How Desperate Is Free To Air TV, When They Resort To Irrelevant US Football Data To Pitch The Federal Government

Free TV Australia is back beating the drum today for Federal Government support claiming that if they don’t get their way Australians are facing annual payments of up to $2000 a year just to watch their beloved free sports, the only problem is that their argument is flawed.

What the lobby group are not telling consumers or the Federal Government is that the Nine, Ten and Seven networks who are their clients, are asking the Federal Government to prop up their failing TV business models, that they would jump at the chance to get the streaming rights to the NRL or AFL for their Stan, Nine Now Paramount + or Seven Plus apps, so that they could charge consumers the same amount or more with the best games going to the free to air networks streaming platforms.

Mike Sneesby, the Chief Executive and Director of both Nine, and Stan has given clear indications that he wants to get both the rights to NRL free to air and streaming which would result in the network charging for streamed content similar to what Kayo successfully do today.

What Free TV Australia hasn’t mentioned in their latest press release, is that consumers have flocked to Kayo which costs $35 a month or $420 which is a far cry from the $2,000 they are claiming in their latest press release.

Nor are they addressing the issue that over 1.4 million consumers are quite happy to pay for Kayo and quality content in 4K Vs inferior free to air TV broadcasts, that’s put to air in 1080p with constant ads during breaks in the game.

An example of that will be the State of Origin Series that is only available on the Nine Network or via the Foxtel Hubble free to air Nine app and that the broadcast will feature multiple ad breaks vs half time and end of game advertising on Kayo.

As of March 31, 2024, Foxtel’s total closing paid subscribers were over 4.5 million with Kayo growing their subscriber base this year.

Lobby Group Free TV Australia is so desperate for the Federal Government to reconsider its approach to anti-siphoning legislation that have resorted to using irrelevant US data to try and pitch a case for a change in legislation.

In what seen as a beat up press release Free TV Australia have had to resort to using the US NFL season data which has no bearing on Australia to pitch their case.

They claim “News from the US today that consumers will need to pay more than A$2400 to watch the full 2024 season of NFL should alarm every Australian. US consumers will be forced to subscribe to up to seven separate streaming apps just to watch a single season of NFL”.

As one person told ChannelNews “Who gives a stuff in Australia. Most consumers want AFL and NRL and the best games are on Kayo which is going to cost under $500 which is the cost of three visits to a live game”.

Free TV Australia CEO Bridgett Fair Now Spruiking Federal Government with US data.

“This is a clear signal of what we will face in Australia if we don’t future-proof new laws to protect Australians’ right to free sport on TV, however they access it,” said Free TV CEO Bridget Fair.

What’s not clear, is whether Fair is indicating that the $2,000 cost of sport that Free TV commercials are  spruiking is what networks such as Nine Ten or Seven will charge, if they get the rights to both streaming and free to air when the rights to NRL and AFL come up.

Some claim that if this happens it will result in a sports broadcadsting monopoly controlled by a free to air TV stations such as the Nine Network.

Fair claims “Australians should not have to sign up to seven streaming services just to get the sports they currently get for free. And this is the horribly certain future under the new anti-siphoning rules before the parliament which do not protect the right of Australians to watch their free sport if they access their free TV services via the internet.” Ms Fair said.

She has not listed out the seven streaming services that Australians would have to sign up to get Australian sports, with Kayo and Hubble delivering the bulk of watched sports via their 4K coverage of both AFL, NRL, Motorsport and Formula One for sub $500 a year which Australians appear happy to pay for.

In what appears to be a desperate plea for commercial free to air TV networks who are bleeding revenue, with some facing the real reality that when the AFL and NRL rights do become available, the networks will not have the revenues or capital to actually buy both the streaming and free to air rights.

The Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2024 will be considered by the Senate in June.

Unless it is amended, it will be outdated before the opening siren, because it only guarantees free sport if you watch via broadcast TV, not if you watch your free TV services using free streaming apps.

ChannelNews understands that Free TV have indications that the Federal Government will not support their motion, that both the free broadcast and free digital streaming rights be acquired by a free broadcaster before a sporting event can be acquired by a pay TV or subscription streaming provider.

Bridget Fair claims “If we don’t fix this glaring omission, it is a certainty that Australians will have to pay to watch the sports they currently get for free. And that’s just not right.”

What she has not addressed is why millions of Australians are quite happy today paying for both entertainment and sports streaming services similar to Kayo, Binge, Netflix, Disney, and Prime Video.

She has also not explained why Nine boss Mike Sneesby who is facing a major crisis with allegations of sexual harassment against former Nine news heavyweight Darren Wick, and the lack of response to them, by Nine management is spending a great deal of his working week addressing issues at the Nine owned Stan streaming who are desperate to get the streaming rights to NRL in Australia from the Foxtel Group.



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