Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Questions without Notice
Australian Football League Television Broadcasts
No, I would not agree with Senator Conroy’s last proposition. I am, however, aware of press reports that the broadcast rights holders to the AFL from 2006 to 2011, the Seven and Ten networks, have been in discussions with various television broadcasters to on-sell the rights to televise up to four AFL matches each round. I also note that there has been press speculation that a deal has been struck between Foxtel and the Seven and Ten consortium. However, of course it is not my role to speculate before there is an announcement about these matters. What I can say is that under the government’s antisiphoning scheme AFL premiership matches are protected, which reflects, of course, their strong community support. The AFL’s deal with the Seven and Ten networks saw the antisiphoning scheme work precisely the way in which it is intended by giving free-to-air broadcasters first access to rights that are listed.
Recently I announced the introduction of a ‘use it or lose it’ scheme to ensure that the free-to-airs do not acquire events and either hoard them or show them with excessive delays. This new scheme commenced on 1 January this year. So although I am not privy to the details of the AFL’s agreement with the two networks—