Foxtel Boss Attacks Outdated Anti-Siphoning TV Laws – channelnews
Foxtel boss Patrick Delany has targeted the anti-siphoning laws that give free-to-air networks an edge when it comes to securing important sports rights.
Australia’s anti-siphoning laws were introduced in 1992 to ensure major sporting and cultural events could continue to be watched on television for free. These laws were written the same year the Australian government put out tenders for Australia’s first pay-TV licenses to prevent sporting events from falling behind a paywall.
As a result, free-to-air networks are the only ones able to bid for broadcast rights to these key events, which Delany believes limits Foxtel’s ability to build its subscription base.
Delany believes these anti-siphoning laws are “stuck in a time warp” in 2022 that ignores the fact that free-to-air networks also own paywall subscription TV offerings.
“We continue to be frustrated that Foxtel’s traditional business is extremely regulated,” said Delany.
“It’s more regulated than free-to-air, where the streamers aren’t regulated in any way. We always do the right thing.
“But at the same time, I think the laws need to take the public interest purpose into account, rather than just protecting free-to-air television.
“What the regime protects is no longer true. Free companies are gaining rights to free sporting events, but they’re pushing consumers to their paid outlets.
“The fact of the matter is that they’re not just acquiring free rights, they’re acquiring free and paid rights and exploiting them, pushing customers to the paid side.”
This applies to Channel Nine, which in this way owns the rights to rugby union, broadcasts matches on the Anti-Siphoning on its free-to-air channel and also touts Stan as the home of rugby union.
Owned by conglomerate CBS, Ten controls the rights to A-League football, which airs primarily on Paramount+ – another CBS company – and a paid subscription service.
“We are the only pay-TV company in the world with a market penetration of 20 percent,” said Delany.
“It’s partly our own fault – we pay too much for the sport and so must have a very high selling price. But if there are laws to get it for free, why should it be limited to a free-to-air license? Why can’t you be willing to offer it for free? The internet actually reaches more homes than the earth.
“Why shouldn’t a company like ours have the right to compete in an open process against other companies that are pay TV companies for sports offerings and we would commit to making those events which are truly iconic and free Are available.”