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More sports free to watch on Australian TV as anti-siphoning scheme begins


The Australian Government has commenced consultation on the anti-siphoning scheme to ensure Australians continue to have the opportunity to enjoy free coverage of events of national significance.

The anti-siphoning scheme aims to give free-to-air broadcasters an initial opportunity to buy the television rights to major events included on the anti-siphoning list.

The scheme prevents subscription television broadcasters from acquiring the rights to televise an event on the anti-siphoning list unless a free-to-air television broadcaster has a right.

The list includes key sporting events across the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, AFL, rugby league, rugby union, soccer, tennis, netball, motorsports, horse racing and cricket.

Minister for Communications, the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, said in a statement: “Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they earn.

“The televising of key sports competitions helps to create shared experiences, foster a collective Australian identity, and contributes to grassroots community-based sports participation.

“Subscription-based services make a valuable contribution to Australia’s media market and consumer choice, but not everyone can afford to pay for sport.”

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At the present time, the scheme does not stop streaming services such as Kayo, Optus Sports or Amazon Prime from acquiring exclusive rights to the same, high-profile sporting events.

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer, James Warburton, told Mumbrella: “Seven welcomes the Government’s comprehensive review into the anti-siphoning scheme. Modernising the scheme is fundamental to ensuring that important Australian sport remains free and universally available to all Australians. To achieve this in a modern media environment, the scheme must be extended to subscription streaming providers.”

In a statement to Mumbrella, Paramount Australia and New Zealand, said: “Paramount Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) is pleased the federal government has released the discussion paper reviewing the anti-siphoning laws.

“Sport is an integral part of Australian culture and society, and Paramount ANZ believes that all Australians should be able to easily access and watch iconic sporting events, particularly those of national and cultural significance, live on free-to-air television.

“Not only does this foster a shared national identity but it contributes to the growth of community engagement and participation in sporting codes across the country.

“Paramount ANZ is pleased to see the discussion paper acknowledges a broader and contemporary view of our media landscape and looks forward to providing a formal response to the discussion paper in the coming weeks.”

The review is part of the Albanese Government’s commitment to media reform. This consultation process will help to inform the development of a new list, with the current list due to expire in April 2023.

The review will also assess the operation of the scheme in the contemporary media environment. The consultation paper outlines a number of issues for consideration, including, the objective of the scheme and the mechanism for achieving this objective, the acquisition of media rights by streaming services and other online services, the regulatory rule that sits at the heart of the scheme, the use and disposal of the rights to televise events on the list, information disclosure and gathering arrangements, and the composition of the list.

Since the scheme commenced in 1994, technology has evolved, the viewing habits of Australians have changed, and newer platforms, including streaming services, are not subject to the rules.

The review will examine these and other trends, and consider the case for amendments to ensure that the anti-siphoning scheme remains fit-for-purpose and continues to support coverage of iconic events available free to the general public.

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Consultation closes on Tuesday, 6 December 2022.

The post More sports free to watch on Australian TV as anti-siphoning scheme begins appeared first on Mumbrella.



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