Antisiphoning list

So through a press statement by Free TV that was about a dozen paragraphs longer than it could’ve been - are they basically trying to argue “we want to be able to have anti-siphoning mean we should be able to take the rights for something and then only have to place it on 7plus/9Now/etc”? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

First thought is, subscription is one thing, but does that mean that a FAST service from someone else (I know it’s early days and how viable that’d be in AUS is another matter, but say if Freevee pops up here for argument’s sake) should also be able to qualify under that model, even though it’s not over-the-air? I’m sure they’d baulk and cover their ears at that…

3 Likes

There needs to be clarity around streaming and serious consideration needs to be given to it being either you allow all free streaming options to be permissible or none.

This model must be seen for what it is a marketing strategy to loss lead with a small number of sports in front of a paywall in the hope of driving increased subscriptions. Australians can’t afford marketing strategies to take the place of good public policy.

So when inevitably FTAs start dumping listed content onto BVOD only, its what? Because that doesn’t seem like good public policy either.

5 Likes
2 Likes

Ofc they “slam” these decisions. Get a new refrain foxtel. :roll_eyes:

3 Likes

Wow shows how much those handouts are propping them up…

1 Like

These responses are basically predictable - Free TV wants more restrictions, Foxtel wants less. Could have told you that before the consultation opened.

Its really time to clarify what free actually means - is it it has to be a licenced FTA broadcaster (regardless of how they deliver it) or is it anyone who can provide the coverage free-to-access (which could be an FTA broadcaster, or Foxtel, or Amazon, or even old mate who tried to by the UCL rights). The former is a community benefit that is wrapped around protectionism, the latter still has a community benefit without the protection nor does it stop the FTAs from operating their current model.

There probably also needs to be consideration of what happens if listed sports want to distribute their content themselves (i.e. run their own streaming service) - the rules need to reflect the current reality of broadcasting, not some historical relic of how broadcasting was.

8 Likes
1 Like

A statement from Seven West Media

Seven West Media welcomes the release of details of a new prominence framework and an updated anti-siphoning scheme through the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2023.

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “The new prominence framework ensures that free local TV services are easily discoverable and acknowledges the importance of these service in a modern TV environment.

“We appreciate the Government updating the anti-siphoning scheme to ensure online services cannot acquire the free-to-air TV rights before the broadcasters have had an opportunity. However, by not including the free digital rights, Australians who only access free TV services through the internet may be deprived of free iconic Australian sports.

“We look forward to working constructively with the Government to ensure these reforms are truly modernising and take into account how Australians are watching and will be watching TV into the future.”

Live and Free Sport at Risk

Free TV Australia today called for changes to the anti-siphoning rules to be fast tracked to protect Australians’ access to live and free sport.

Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said “We have been saying for years that streaming giants would be coming for our sports rights here in Australia and the acquisition of World Cup cricket by Amazon just proves the point.

“All Australians deserve the right to share our great sporting moments for free, and that right is in serious jeopardy. There is a real risk that more of our iconic sports events could be exclusively acquired by subscription streaming platforms that aren’t currently covered by the anti-siphoning rules. With cost-of-living pressures in overdrive, we cannot allow access to key sporting events to be dictated by what subscription services Australians can afford.

“The Government’s new Bill introduced last week to expand the current anti-siphoning rules to subscription streaming services is an important new measure, and this deal shows there is no time to waste in getting the Bill passed. The anti-siphoning rules urgently need to be updated to protect our access to live and free sport – it’s part of the Australian way of life.

“However the Bill has a glaring oversight with the failure to include free streaming rights in the proposed model. Australians should be able to watch key sporting events whether they choose to access their free TV services through terrestrial broadcast or online streaming, and this should be rectified before the Bill is passed.

“It might also be time to look at whether the limitation of cricket games on the list to those played in Australia or New Zealand is working for the Australian public. We should be able to watch our national team play no matter where the game is taking place.“

1 Like

I don’t see how the new rules would stop the Amazon deal - nothing included in the deal is on the list (bar the slim possibility of one game)

No - the free provision should apply broadly across all options - if Amazon, Netflix, Foxtel, or Seven want to offer their coverage for free via streaming that should satisfy the requirement for it to be available for free.

This would make the list less protectionist and more consumer oriented

5 Likes

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/streaming/nrl-calls-for-technologically-neutral-overhaul-to-sport-broadcasting/news-story/31fc06ab986e12c7e6f720df33d23ad1

1 Like

No aerial? No free sport

Information sheet from Seven West Media

Why the Anti-Siphoning Bill needs to change to ensure all Aussies can get free sport

If you are a sports fan in Australia, you probably enjoy watching your favourite teams and athletes compete in the biggest events on free-to-air TV. Whether it’s the AFL Grand Final, the Australian summer of cricket or the Matildas doing Australia proud, we expect – and deserve – to see these iconic sporting moments and cheer on our heroes without paying a cent.

But did you know:

The only reason that Aussies can view these sports for free is because the Government has legislated that certain iconic sports must be offered to TV broadcasters first so that they don’t end up behind a paywall.

This is known as the anti-siphoning scheme. But it is outdated and only guarantees your free sport if you watch it via broadcast TV, not if you stream it over the internet. This is a problem, because we all know TV viewing is changing and more and more Aussies don’t have access to an aerial or choose to watch their favourite sports through apps like 7plus.

So, is your right to watch iconic sporting events for free under threat?

In short, yes. The Australian Parliament is currently considering a new Bill, which only guarantees free sports for Australians that have an aerial. It does not guarantee you will get free sport if you choose to stream it over the internet or don’t have an aerial. So, if you have no aerial there is no guarantee that you will have access to free sport in the future.

As the Bill is drafted now, there is nothing stopping Amazon, Kayo, Prime and Netflix from buying all the digital rights to your favourite sports and making you pay if you want to stream your sport over the internet.

The Bill is called the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti- Siphoning) Bill 2023 and we need the Government to amend the Bill to include the free digital stream alongside the free broadcast stream so that all Australians can access free sport, regardless of whether they have a TV aerial or not.

What is anti-siphoning and why does it matter?

Anti-siphoning is a regulatory framework that protects the free and universal access for Australians to watch certain sporting events on TV. It works by creating a list of events that are deemed to be of national or cultural significance and requires these events to be offered to free-to-air broadcasters first before they can be sold to pay TV.

The anti-siphoning list ensures that all Australians, regardless of their income, location, or technology, can enjoy watching these events for free. It also supports the development and promotion of Australian sport, culture, and identity, by giving exposure and recognition to our local teams and athletes.

What are the problems with the Bill?

The Bill proposes to make some changes to the anti-siphoning list that have failed to appreciate the evolving digital media landscape and its effects on how Australians access their favourite sporting events. Around 20% of people currently view their favourite sporting events via the internet, and this is expected to grow to around 50% by the end of the decade.

The following changes are needed to ensure that the Australian right of free access to sport is protected:

  • The anti-siphoning list will only require free-to-air broadcasters to be offered aerial- delivered broadcast rights to events on the anti-siphoning list. However, Australians are increasingly accessing their free TV services over the internet, especially younger viewers and those in new housing developments that don’t have any aerials at all. The Bill does not protect the rights of Australians who access their TV services over the internet to watch their sporting events for free.

  • Changes need to be made to ensure that both the free broadcast and free digital streaming rights are available to broadcasters before the event can be snatched up by a pay TV or subscription streaming provider. This would ensure that all Australians, regardless of how they access their TV services, can watch these events for free.

  • The Bill proposes to automatically delist events from the anti-siphoning list 12 months before they take place. This could create a loophole for pay TV and subscription streaming providers to acquire the rights to these events before they are offered to free-to-air broadcasters, or to bid up the price of the rights and make them unaffordable for platforms that could show these events for free. Free access to some of our favourite sporting events will be lost altogether, which is exactly what happened when Amazon Prime acquired the exclusive rights for the ICC World Cup Cricket – meaning that we can no longer access free coverage for the World Cup Cricket at all.

What can you do to help?

If you care about your right to watch your favourite sporting events for free, you can help by signing up at Free For Everyone to show your support.

1 Like

This is pretty rich coming from them given that SWM were the only broadcaster foolish enough to let themselves be restricted to aerial-only rights for the AFL and the cricket until the current deal lapses this year.

Having said that, I do agree in principle with the idea. However, I do believe that if the FTA broadcasters want concessions like preferential treatment on TVs and automatic streaming rights to everything they can broadcast terrestrially, they need to make it easier for the viewing public to access their content in return- I’d require them to enable their linear live streams that are simulcast with terrestrial broadcast to be accessible without an account (I’m OK with having to get an account for on demand content as that’s an added feature).

It says a lot when even some executives at the FTA networks apparently struggle with getting the apps set up. Imagine how frustrating it must be for viewers (especially those that aren’t quite so tech-savvy).

3 Likes

My feeling is that yes, anti-siphoning listed events should be available to stream for free but if you’re a free to air provider who can’t negotiate for the streaming rights with the huge advantage that they have in gaining the broadcast rights (which in itself is fair enough) then there’s a whole lot more than 5 companies that can provide free streaming in this country, most without a login wall.

3 Likes

Haha yes, I’d settle for a rule that FTA companies can stream it providing they don’t mandate a sign up/login process. Make it truly free and accessible for all (that includes you, ABC)

2 Likes

The Anti-Siphoning Bill is designed to save free sport ⚽ Whether it’s the AFL Grand Final, the summer of cricket or the Matildas doing Australia proud, Australians deserve to see these iconic moments without paying a cent.

Learn more: https://t.co/SlFd4fIveL#keeepsportfree pic.twitter.com/pzSnD5wVSo

— Channel 7 (@Channel7) March 3, 2024

What’s an aerial?


Major advertising campaign to protect free sport and TV content launches

Free TV will launch a major television advertising blitz to warn Australians that free content will increasingly disappear without a Federal Government intervention.

The peak body for free TV broadcasters, including Seven, Nine and Ten, is urging the Government to strengthen its Prominence and Anti-siphoning Bill.

The advertising campaign, which will launch nationally today, highlights the increased prospect of free TV disappearing behind paywalls without changes to the legislation.

Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said the Free For Everyone campaign puts the public interest first.

“Australians deserve to know that their access to free news, sport and other content is under threat unless the federal government acts,” she said.

“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.

“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.”

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.

Free TV is calling for the following changes to the bill:

Prominence

  • Reduce the implementation period from 18 months to a maximum of six months
  • Extend the rules to existing TVs that receive software updates
  • Ensure that viewers are presented with both free and paid options when searching for content
  • Require electronic TV guides to include local free TV services

Anti‐siphoning

  • Require that both the free broadcast and free digital streaming rights be acquired by a free broadcaster before the event can be acquired by a pay TV or subscription streaming provider
  • Do not extend the automatic de-listing period from six to 12 months as many sporting events are acquired within this timeframe

Seven’s stars get behind free sport

New campaign calls for changes to anti-siphoning bill

The stars of Seven Network have come together in a new campaign calling on the Federal Government to amend its proposed changes to the anti-siphoning regime to protect Australians’ access to free sport content across broadcast and digital technologies.

The “We are Aussies, of course I want free sport” campaign launches today and is running across all major social media platforms. It highlights that the current Bill before parliament only protects Australians’ access to free sport via broadcast TV but not if they watch TV through the internet via an app like 7plus.

Seven’s campaign supports the broader industry campaign from industry group Free TV Australia that is seeking some important changes to the prominence and anti-siphoning Bill to stop free TV content from disappearing behind paywalls.

Created by Seven’s in-house creative agency Red Engine, Seven’s campaign includes Bruce McAvaney, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Matthew Richardson, Abbey Holmes, Mel McLaughlin, Matt Evans, Jason Richardson, Juliet Godwin, Emma Freedman and Mark Beretta.

Australia’s pre-eminent sports broadcaster, Bruce McAvaney, said: “Australians shouldn’t be denied access to free sport just because they don’t have an aerial. If you want to stream sport over the internet, the anti-siphoning scheme should ensure internet delivered sport is also free.”

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “Seven supports most parts of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2023, but there is a major omission from the Bill.

“It only guarantees free sport content for Australians that have an aerial. It does not guarantee people will get free sport if they choose to stream it over the internet or don’t have an aerial.

No aerial means no guarantee that Australians will have access to free sport in the future.

“As the Bill is drafted now, there is nothing stopping Amazon, Kayo, Prime and Netflix from buying all the digital rights to Australians’ favourite sports and making them pay if they want to stream sport over the internet,” he said.

“The Albanese Government needs to amend the Bill to include the free digital stream alongside the free broadcast stream so that all Australians can access free sport, regardless of whether they have a TV aerial or not.”

More information can be found here on the Seven West Media website and at Free TV Australia’s Free For Everyone.

Does it mention if it stops networks having the rights to certain events cough cough channel 7 and choosing not to air them for the purpose of bypassing anti siphoning :thinking:

4 Likes

I am happy to pay for sport on TV. No ads, 4K and on demand. Hate being forced to watch Origin or Grand Finals on free TV and in HD with ads

2 Likes