Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anti and Syphoning: Pay TV option is good bargaining chip but you don't want it to be our only coverage

John: Watching the roar wasn't much fun Saturday

Informed Source: I'll bet. They seem to be in a big low.

John: Bob Malcolm caused 2 goals and looked like he wasn't even playing, so did Moore in the 1st 20 mins.

Informed Source: Malcolm may well know that he's unlikely to be part of the main mix from here on in.

John: One thing people aren't saying is that Brisbane was the 2nd biggest crowd. Gold Coast - top of the league and best team - winner v Perth was going top - crowd = 4,500

Informed Source: Yes. Good point. While the focus is on Brisbane, there are deeper issues there. I believe there is a clear correlation between the success of a code and its prominence on free-to-air tv. For example, in 2003 union was pushing to overtake NRL as the major form of rugby in the country. But lost momentum when they signed the deal with Fox. From 2005, soccer was on a high following the world cup qualification, that reached fever pitch in 2006 with making the qtr finals. All codes were genuinely scared - including the all-conquering AFL. But already signed up to a Fox arrangement and what happened....

Another example, NBL went from being on free-to-air tv in the late 80s and through the 90s to a deal with Fox and ended up dying altogether for a year and a half....

Compared to AFL and NRL which are clearly the dominant football codes in the country, only rivaled by cricket for national interest.... all 3 of these sports have strong free-to-air coverage.

My hypothesis: if channel 9 didn't sign up rugby league but signed up rugby union instead, and Fox Sports had have taken over rugby league, the exodus of players from league to union would have continued and union would be pushing for status as the dominant of the 2 codes.

John: So how do you read the latest free-to-air v pay debate happening in parliament now? I heard Wayne Goss on the radio the other day talking about anti syphoning list changes.

Informed Source: Complex: in some part it's short-term greed on behalf of the codes going to the govt looking for relaxation. On the other side, I understand that they sometimes need the bargaining chip of pay tv to get a better free-to-air outcome. It is also a matter of different codes being at different points in their product life-cycle.


Hamish said...

Lowy Calls For Free To Air Deal

john said...

Thanks Hamish

Ray Gatt said in The Australian today that Fox A-League ratings are down 20%.

Even Fox needs free to air!

The Midnight Gambler said...

On the other hand, the runaway success of the EPL is almost certainly down to Pay TV. And with the fragmentation of the TV market free-to-air TV is losing market share - so which is the growing market that you want to ride anyway? For myself, I watched the Brisbane Roar game through an Internet stream. And I was one of those sad individuals backing them to win too!

john said...

Thanks Midnight Gambler
Not sure how you define the success of the EPL. I can't see pay tv in Australia having much to do with it. The EPL re-growth happened after the FA got its act together after Hillsbrough.

john said...

OK sorry TMG
I didn't realise you were writing from the UK. UK pay TV is cheaper and has better technology than the Australian version.

The Midnight Gambler said...

Sorry to hear that John! I think it's very expensive over here; but you've got to have it. I have it all. And I want more.

From my perspective, I agree that football grounds grew more family friendly in the EPL after Hillsborough and the European ban following Heisel. Also, there was a surge in popular support for the game following the 1990 World Cup, in which England graced the semi-finals. And there was already a strong and broad base of public interest for soccer in the UK, which may not be the case in Australia.

But it was the marketing of the Premier League as a brand to pay-TV which brought untold riches to the league and allowed the Big Four to establish themselves as the dominant force in English and, one or two clubs excepted, European football.

Not sure that counts as success in your eyes, and maybe its neither a desirable nor an achieveable model for the A-League. I just want the A-League to be successful so I can watch it more easily, week in and week out (along with many other leagues). From what I've seen so far it's a pacy and attacking league.

john said...

'From what I've seen so far it's a pacy and attacking league.'

Good to hear Midnight Gambler. You are really chancing your money on the Roar - though I think Fury were paying a lot at half time tonight.