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TV Streaming Bunfight Kicks Off In Senate Inquiry

Free to air TV stations are desperate as revenues fall and profits crumble, now the CEOs of the Seven, Nine and Ten networks are to appear at a Senate hearing today to lobby for Government support in the form of new legislation aimed at giving them a leg up against streaming services that Australians are flocking to.

The networks ar also calling for regulation around search and voice on streaming platforms according to information given to the inquiry.

In opening remarks, the CEO of the SBS claimed that his network has been held hostage by streaming and TV Companies demanding between 15 and 30% of the revenue generated by the app appearing on a TV or set top box. He also singled out TV brands Samsung Sony and Hisense as TV Companies who wanted a cut of the revenue from the apps operating on their platforms.

Late last year Amazon gave major broadcasters three weeks’ notice that it will demand a 30 per cent cut of revenue from all advertising that runs while someone watches their programming through its Fire TV devices.

The new terms would force broadcasters to pay millions of dollars to have their content included on Fire TV – USB or set-top box devices that allow access to internet streaming software.

Also before the inquiry is the CEO of Foxtel, Patrick Delany, and Fetch CEO Scott Lorson who has already thrown his cap in the ring in support of free to air recommendations.

During the past week the weakness of free to air TV stations was on full display and this is of concern to the Federal Labor Government, who have been accused of “pandering to the requests” of the free to air networks, who are facing a consumer revolt from people, who are choosing to dump watching free to air TV stations, instead they are choosing to pay for streamed entertainment and sporting events coverage.

Consumers don’t want advertising claim analysts.

“They are prepared to pay for a streaming service that has no advertising or a minimum amount of advertising, this is a major problem for networks”.

Yesterday Nine Entertainment revealed that their net profit has crashed by 40% in the six months to December 31,

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also fell 15% from $370.5m to $316.1m. However,

Ironically their own streaming platform Stan continued to grow, with revenue up 19% to $88.6m.

Last week the Seven Network revealed that revenue across the group was $775 million, down 5 per cent.

Seven West Media shares dropped 10.9 per cent, or 3¢, 24.5¢.

The company’s share price is down 43 per cent across the past year, with its market capitalisation down to $377 million.

The commercial TV executives will appear today alongside Free TV Chair Greg Hywood and CEO Bridget Fair before the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee to call for the prominence and anti-siphoning bill to be strengthened.

Free TV Chair Greg Hywood said: “We welcome the Government’s intention to make free local TV services easy to find on connected TVs and to stop global streaming giants putting our major sports behind a TV paywall. But this Bill contains some significant oversights that we will be highlighting to the Committee today.”

The bill prevents subscription streaming services such as Amazon, Apple and Disney from buying exclusive terrestrial broadcast rights to iconic sporting events like the Olympics, AFL, NRL and cricket, but they can still acquire exclusive digital rights and lock out the millions of Australians who watch free sport on services such as 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play.

In another oversight, the bill only requires the free apps of local broadcasters and a Live TV tile be available on new smart TVs that are manufactured 18 months after the legislation receives assent, meaning millions will miss out in the interim.

 

More to follow:



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