Optus ruling actually a good thing for AFL fans

Michael DiFabrizio Columnist

By Michael DiFabrizio, Michael DiFabrizio is a Roar Expert

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    Let’s get one thing clear: whether you watch the game on your Telstra mobile or your Optus mobile, the AFL is generating broadcast revenue. While Telstra do indeed pay “big bucks” for mobile rights, the Optus method assists the AFL too because what you get is a retransmitted free-to-air broadcast.

    That means you’re watching Channel Seven’s broadcast and being subjected to Channel Seven’s ads and increasing Channel Seven’s audience, in the same way someone watching at home is.

    While it may take away from the value Telstra is getting for their deal, it adds to the value Seven is getting. Either way, the AFL are earning revenue off you watching football.

    So why all the kerfuffle of the past few days? Why did this end up in the courts? Put simply, it’s because the AFL want to earn more revenue off you watching football. They want to double dip.

    For one, there’s more money in exclusive broadcast deals. Just look at the FFA’s deal with Foxtel that sees important World Cup qualifiers – which would otherwise warrant free-to-air coverage – on pay TV because the sport’s rights are worth a lot more if sold exclusively.

    There’s also more money in deals where the provider charges customers. The most recent footy broadcast deal was propped up by Foxtel gaining access to all matches.

    The Telstra-AFL deal is both exclusive and involves paying customers. The deal with Seven does not. Therefore, you are worth more to the AFL if you are watching on your Telstra device than if you are just watching on Seven.

    That’s why the AFL are so concerned.

    Now, let’s get one more thing clear: the service operated by Optus is not illegal. In fact, it allows viewers to do something they’ve had the right to do for quite some time – that is record, or “time shift”, free to air television.

    TV Now (the Optus product in question) allows you to record a free-to-air program to watch it later, as soon as two minutes after the program starts. It’s like the old VCR except you can now watch your recording “on the go”. Optus facilitates this by hosting the data you’ve recorded and allowing you to access it via your mobile or on the web.

    Andrew Demetriou has said, “Optus have come along now to seek to try and use our content.” While that’s pretty damning, in truth Optus are not broadcasting the content.

    It’s important to note that only the person who makes the recording using TV Now is able to access that recording, so it’s quite different to an illegal online stream. That recording is not available to other users – those users would have to go through the same process and record it themselves.

    There are a couple of points where you might draw a line.

    One such point would be if Optus were advertising their TV Now service as a way for customers to watch AFL games live. But Optus are marketing the product as a way to watch free-to-air, without specifically mentioning any programs that might allow you to watch.

    In fact, currently the only ones advertising the fact AFL games can be seen on the TV Now service are Telstra and the AFL.

    Another question mark is that Optus are charging customers for their TV Now service. While what they are charging for is advertised as “storage space” – the data being recorded has to be stored somewhere – if they have built a profit margin into that, things do become a little murky.

    However even if they are making some kind of profit, you have to question how Optus are any different to say, a VCR manufacturer or, in modern times, TiVo. These companies have profited from allowing users to time shift, so why should we treat Optus any differently?

    Unless the AFL once launched a law suit against a VCR manufacturer, I say we shouldn’t.

    Yes, there are differences between the humble VCR and the TV Now service. However, once again – only the person who makes the recording has access to the recording.

    As the recordings are done on an individual basis – as in, it’s up to the individual to make the recording – the same rights individuals have always had apply. As they should.

    Finally, another point has to be made: it might be easier to sympathise with the AFL on this issue if their handling of mobile and online rights was not so archaic and against the best interests of supporters.

    As you’d expect, Demetriou did his best to spin the Optus ruling as a loss for fans this week. “What we do as a not-for-profit organisation is: if we derive returns, we reinvest it into our code,” he said.

    But surely the greater loss to fans is that the AFL have chosen to restrict mobile and online access to customers of just one provider. I’m not sure there’s too many codes outside of Australia that operate in such a manner.

    Certainly, the United States has a host of examples that simply embarrass the AFL when it comes to games being broadcast on mobiles and online.

    Just look at NBA League Pass, which allows you to surf between all the NBA games each and every night. I’ve used it at home on my computer and while out on my iPhone and the quality is superb – and thankfully, I wasn’t restricted by what mobile or broadband carrier I was with.

    It’s a subscription service, so there is money to be made. Maybe that money isn’t as big or as easy as what the AFL gets through Telstra, but it would mean the product is available to a far wider audience of supporters.

    When you see that the AFL’s deal with Telstra doesn’t even involve games being broadcast online (as in, on computers) and instead just covers mobiles, tablets and the T-Box, it illustrates just how far behind the league is – and will continue to be, given it’s five years until a new deal comes along.

    What footy fans deserve is choice. Not only in terms of where and how they watch games but also, especially if they’re being asked to pay, in terms of what provider they want to go through. The AFL simply aren’t doing enough to give them that.

    Just remember, though: the AFL isn’t being protective right now because it wants to make money. It’s being protective because it wants to make more money.

    Michael DiFabrizio
    Michael DiFabrizio

    Michael DiFabrizio is based in Mildura, Victoria. He has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, leading to appearances on ABC News 24 and in the Age. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelDiFab.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • February 4th 2012 @ 6:09am
      Kram said | February 4th 2012 @ 6:09am | ! Report

      Please disregard this entire article. What Optus have done is circumvent archaic copyright laws that cannot keep up with the speed of technology changes. This victory is a good thing, it will force a rethink about those laws, about time-shifting and the portability of data these days. Channel Seven, dependant on how access is reported back, may benefit from slightly increased ratings, but a lot of money will be lost in exclusivity deals. This will only put pressure on supports to seek revenue elsewhere, eg. Tickets, merchandise, etc. Is this what you want? What’s next?

      • February 4th 2012 @ 7:35am
        p.Tah said | February 4th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        They haven’t circumvented archaic copyright laws they, have as the judged ruled, complied entirely with the law. If the laws are modified I hope that the general public aren’t unfairly disadvantage so that corporates can make more money.

        Michael nice to have the alternative view.

      • Roar Guru

        February 6th 2012 @ 4:40pm
        ItsCalledFootball said | February 6th 2012 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        Nothing wrong with the laws – anyone is entitled to record FTA programs – why does AFL need to be different.

        If the law changes you can bet it will be to the benefit of the corporates and not the fans and we will have to pay more either way, whatever sport it is.

        The AFL make most of their money at the punters expense. Companies and advertisers and the AFL just pass on the cost.

        They are already diversifying their income stream with a huge investment in poker machines for AFL clubs.

        • Roar Guru

          February 6th 2012 @ 5:00pm
          The Cattery said | February 6th 2012 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          ICF
          You have been told many, many times: the AFL does NOT own any poker machines.

    • February 4th 2012 @ 8:10am
      Doug said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      I dont see why the AFL and Telstra think competition is a bad thing. In the sports that we are talking about being watched, we want a level playing field. So now Telstra has to compete by actually doing something better and more compelling with its exclusive rights. It could allow viewers to change camera angles to see what they want of the field or something more innovative. Instead it seems keen to just rebroadcast what a viewer could watch on free to air tv. Telstra is just another lazy Australian business that will go belly up when a company with more money arrives who is actually prepared to actually work to win customers rather than relying on being a defacto monopoly.

    • Roar Guru

      February 4th 2012 @ 9:19am
      The Cattery said | February 4th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      For the moment, there appears to be no effect on the AFL’s revenue. Telstra’s component was less than 10% of the $1.25 billion broadcast deal, and they are still honouring it.

      The case assists the AFL (and other sports) in understanding the limits of control one has on their own content in the new digital age. The action by the AFL was less about Telstra’s rights, and more about the AFL informing itself about it’s next move in the next five years.

      If nothing else, Conroy has publicly stated that they will revisit the Copyright laws, and this will help the AFL in determining its strategic planning on how it best extracts maximum value for its product at the end of the present broadcast deal.

      There is only value in copyright if you can enforce exclusivity and access to it – you can only charge entry to a game if you have a fence around the ground.

      The AFL has set itself up to become an online broadcaster and producer of online content, so most of the things Michael has mentioned in this article will come to pass in the next five years, in that context, there appears merit in the AFL testing the boundaries of this area in a legal sense, not just for what Optus is doing now, but what others might attempt to do in the next few years – that’s the more dangerous bit to their being able to generate revenue at similar levels to today.

      • February 4th 2012 @ 1:19pm
        Boomshanka said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        Conroy has promised us all much, but has failed miserably to deliver.

        Common sense has prevailed in this decision.

        It’ll take years for the politicians to change the law only for it to be out flanked by further technology. Remember its taken three years so far to get the anti siphoning laws changed (for the benefit of the consumer) and despite ‘the first bounce’ being only seven weeks away, the AFL deal as it stands at the moment between FOX and the AFL remains illegal.

        • February 5th 2012 @ 7:51am
          Tizzo said | February 5th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

          If you are referring to the anti-siphoning laws. I believe Seven is able to on-sell their rights to another company, in this case Foxtel.

          • Roar Guru

            February 5th 2012 @ 8:11am
            The Cattery said | February 5th 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

            Tizzo
            I believe he’s referring to Fox having bought the rights to all nine games, four of which are concurrent with Seven having the rights (the anti-siphoning laws only refer to the four best games of the round, whatever that might mean).

          • February 5th 2012 @ 10:36am
            Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Seven did not “on-sell” in this case. The AFL sold directly to Fox listed sport and this is illegal at the moment.

            Interesting to note the Minister has de-listed all of the 2012 AFL series as of 30th January. Whilst this may allow the matches to be shown on multi channels or subsequently on-sold, it does not allow FOX to hold rights it directly obtained from the AFL (as it wasn’t offered to a FTA network prior).

            It requires a law change and not just the ministers discretion.

            http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012C00076

            • February 5th 2012 @ 11:02am
              Ian Whitchurch said | February 5th 2012 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              Im still trying to see where the material breach of the law is.

              As far as I can tell, you think because the games that are available on FTA can also be seen on pay TV, the contract should be revoked ?

              • Roar Guru

                February 5th 2012 @ 11:14am
                The Cattery said | February 5th 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                My reading of it is the same as Ian’s. FTA have their four games, as required by the anti-siphoning rules – there’s absolutely nothing stopping Fox having the right to show the same four games simultaneously.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 3:32pm
                Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                Ian and TC.

                The AFL sold five games to FOX directly. This is the ‘breach’. They could not do it when the deal was done and they can’t do it now unless there is a law change.

                Its got nothing to do with the four games that Seven hold as these are ‘compliant’ with the legislation.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 3:52pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 5th 2012 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                Boomshanka,

                I see your problem. You dont understand how the law works.

                Read this release

                http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/media/media_releases/2010/122

                “The Government will put in place a mechanism to protect the quality of AFL games on free-to-air television.

                This mechanism will ensure, as is the case now, that Friday and Saturday night games are able to be purchased by free-to-air, and that these feature the two best games of each round, as selected by the AFL. It will also ensure that South Australian and Western Australian viewers will be able to watch matches involving teams from their respective home states each week on free-to-air, and that Anzac Day and Queen’s Birthday games are also available on free-to-air.

                The Government will achieve this by regulation or an alternative arrangement agreed with stakeholders.

                The Government expects to negotiate a similar quality-assurance mechanism for weekly NRL games with Australian Rugby League’s newly-formed Independent Commission.

                Until these quality guarantees are agreed, all games of AFL and NRL will remain listed events, preventing their acquisition by a Pay TV licence holder until free-to-air broadcasters have a right to televise those events.”

                Right. So, the AFL has negotiated with a free-to-air broadcaster for the rights to broadcast as above. Tick. It then sold rights to games not covered to the above to a pay TV provider. Well, ok.

                Has the Minister objected ? Nope, just some flog in the Murdoch press. And you.

                Do we have Friday and Saturday night matches on free-to-air, plus other matches ? Why, yes, we do.

                I guess thats the “an alternative arrangement agreed with stakeholders”

                Tick.

                Nothing to see here, just someone being a [fairly useless halfback flanker] about football being shown free-to-air, as opposed to on pay TV where he thinks it should exclusively be.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 4:15pm
                Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                The changes mooted in the press release you refer to some 15 months ago have not eventuated. The law as it stands at the moment does not allow FOX to hold rights

                Have a read of the accompanying fact sheet that came with the media release you refer to; http://www.dbcde.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/131466/MR_101123_Anti-siphoning_Reforms_-_Fact_Sheet.pdf

                Implementation
                The implementation of these reforms will require amendment to the Broadcasting Services
                Act 1992. Amending legislation will be drafted over the coming months and introduced into
                the Parliament as soon as possible.

                Also from http://www.dbcde.gov.au/television/antisiphoning_and_antihoarding

                The current operation of the scheme ensures that certain events are available to the whole viewing public by preventing pay TV licensees from acquiring exclusive rights to listed events. Under section 115 of the Act, the Minister may determine a list of events or events of a kind that the Minister believes should be available free to the general public. The current anti‑siphoning list comprises domestic and international sporting events in 12 categories including cricket, tennis, golf, motor sports and the football codes.

                The scheme aims to give free-to-air broadcasters priority over pay TV licensees in acquiring rights to listed events. It prevents pay TV licensees from acquiring a right to televise a listed event until a right is acquired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) or by commercial free-to-air broadcasters reaching more than 50 per cent of the Australian population.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 5:01pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 5th 2012 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

                Boomshanka,

                The Minister would need to make a determination there is a problem, and then do something about it.

                Hasnt. Happened. Wont. Happen.

                The AFL deals are in clear compliance with the intention of Parliament in passing the act.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 5:07pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 5th 2012 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                Boomshanka,

                By the way, if what you are saying is right – and its not – the NRL cant sign a pay TV deal.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 6:49pm
                Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                In Summary, the current law requires the Subscription TV licensee to not acquire rights to listed events unless national or commercial licensees hold them.

                Last time I looked Channel Seven hold the rights to four games each round. The other five exclusively held by FOX are in breach of the following;

                from: http://corrigan.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/bsa1992214/sch2.html

                Broadcasting Act 1992: Schedule 2, Part 6 Subscription television broadcasting licences

                10 Conditions applicable to subscription television broadcasting licences

                (1) Each subscription television broadcasting licence is subject to the following conditions:

                (e) the licensee will not acquire the right to televise, on a subscription television broadcasting service, an event that is specified in a notice under subsection 115(1) unless:
                (i) a national broadcaster has the right to televise the event on any of its broadcasting services; or
                (ii) the television broadcasting services of commercial television broadcasting licensees (other than licensees who hold licences allocated under section 38C or subsection 40(1)) who have the right to televise the event cover a total of more than 50% of the Australian population;

              • February 5th 2012 @ 6:50pm
                Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                Correct, as it stands at the moment the NRL can’t sell exclusively to Pay TV.

    • Columnist

      February 4th 2012 @ 11:00am
      Tim Renowden said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:00am | ! Report

      I agree that there’s been a big fuss about not much. There have been network PVR services around for a while, and their legality has been tested overseas (Cablevision in the US being the major example) with similar results. I think it’s the right technology-neutral approach – if a person is allowed to record FTA TV, it shouldn’t matter which type of devices they record it on.

      One possible avenue for the AFL to explore is to ask whether it’s legitimate for Optus to enable format-shifting, ie converting the digital broadcast signal to formats suitable for mobile/tablet/PC viewing. But there are plenty of perfectly legal products on the market that allow people to do this in their own home, so it’s probably a dead end as well.

      I also think we need to remember that hardly anyone actually watches mobile TV, even fewer people will pay for it, and most of Telstra’s digital rights package was/is intended to supply content to the TV screen via the T-Box. The revenue impact to Telstra or Optus is probably fairly small. Telstra doesn’t report on its content revenues – to me this suggests that content isn’t yet a profitable business for them, and acquiring sporting rights is really about selling T-Boxes and getting Telstra broadband customers to upgrade to service bundles and/or not churn to other broadband providers.

      Telstra still has access to exclusive games that aren’t shown on FTA, and that’s where the value is for Telstra customers. Watching matches I can already watch for free, but on a tiny screen, isn’t that appealing to me.

      • February 4th 2012 @ 1:15pm
        Boomshanka said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        Tim Agree with all of your post.

        Over two years ago Sony released remote play on their Playstation 3.

        Once set up, with the PS3 in the home, it is possible to use a sync’d PSP, Vaio Latop or Sony Ericsson AINO phone anywhere in the world (subject to a good internet connection) and access TV from the PVR function of the PS3 (Play TV).

        ie if the PS3 is connected to the aerial at home, one is able to watch live TV coverage of the AFL / NRL or whatever they chose – akin to what apparently of concern now.

        Whilst entirely possible to beam live AFL to a remote device (live not on a 2 minute delay), we didn’t see Telstra or the AFL get upset about it on release which was a good year prior to the AFL media deal. It was as obvious to Telstra then as it is plainly obvious now that they payed for something that is already in the public domain.

        Check out:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayTV

        http://au.playstation.com/playtv/

        Would love to see Telstra and the AFL go after Sony for breach of copyright.

        The only difference here is that Optus are offering to provide PVR functions of FTA TV in the cloud (the same place where we do internet banking, partake in social media or Roar). One still has to set up the recording and like at home, if you forget then it’s tough. Telstra have as much right to the exclusive rights as we do when we contribute on forums like this.

        What’s to stop me from buying a Digital TV recorder and grabbing the feed from the air (remember it’s being beamed ‘free’) to watch on my phone – nothing.

        • February 5th 2012 @ 12:34pm
          Jaceman said | February 5th 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          Boom,

          Any sign of Conroy setting in play a mechanism for selecting the best AFL games of the round for FTA??

          I saw mobile TV 3-4 years ago which was pretty horrible for sport and mobile Tv has died a death rather that mobile broadband would be the conduit for “mobile video”. Qualcomm who were running monbile Tv hard have given up on it.

          Which leads me to the question – how would you rate out of 10 the friday night NRL picture downloaded from the web to your TV.

          • February 5th 2012 @ 3:28pm
            Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            Jaceman

            With respect to the mechanism I understand they are on the 67th draft and a long way from agreement (Check out; http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/opinion/siphoning-still-tied-up-in-red-tape/story-e6frg99o-1226256696171) .

            As to the illegality of the AFL deal, check out Conroy’s recent and feeble attempt by de-listing the entire AFL 2012 series at http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012C00076 This is not sufficient to as under the anti siphoning laws a pay tv operator cannot hold rights to a listed event (which is what the AFL is) without these games being first offered to FTA TV first.

            Mobile TV is actually crap, but it is possible to put it on the big screen and we can even see numbers on the shirts. Not a long term solution but better than the total black out. I’m still happy to pay for accessing my sport, and would rather support this than dodgy P2P sites (where we had to go prior).

            Whilst yet to see a Friday night NRL game through the phone, the two other grand final games and post match presentation (which where not shown here) where adequate (if pushed I’d say 2 or 3 out of 10).

    • February 4th 2012 @ 2:58pm
      It's called soccer said | February 4th 2012 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

      The sport that will be affected is NRL. Despite what Masters, etc said, it was very unlikely they would have got more than $1 billion – they certainly won’t now.

      • February 4th 2012 @ 5:08pm
        Titus said | February 4th 2012 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

        I think this is true. One of the significant things about this is we are already beginning to see that the AFL media rights were massively overvalued.

        It makes no sense for subscription service providers to pay so much money for something that is still free. The face of Australia and their cultural interests and how they access them is also undergoing huge changes and advertising is no longer about trying to reach the most people but about trying to reach your target audience and associate yourself with the right brands.

        • Roar Guru

          February 4th 2012 @ 5:16pm
          The_Wookie said | February 4th 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

          we’ve heard the “overvalued” argument last time. Yet they did it again. You people really are swesome.

          • February 4th 2012 @ 7:08pm
            stabpass said | February 4th 2012 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

            I guess if they say it enough, they will convince themselves, facts have very little use, when you dont like something.

            • February 4th 2012 @ 8:19pm
              White Noise said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

              The reality is that nobody really knows if they’re over valued or not. In fact this won’t be known until the winning bidders start seeing what return they get back for their investment. And since these rights media contracts run for X amount years it could be that long until we know.

              So to calim you know for fact that there not overvalued means you are just as deluded as those who think they are, or psychic.

              • February 4th 2012 @ 8:30pm
                stabpass said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

                The parties that put up the 1.25 billion in hard earned Australian currency dont think they are overvalued, thats all that matters really.

                I would also bet that the CEO’s of multi billion $$ companies have more idea/information/projections than a few constant deriders of Australian football that post on this site.

              • Roar Guru

                February 4th 2012 @ 11:22pm
                The Cattery said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:22pm | ! Report

                White Noise
                what a few of us bring is a very good appreciation of our history – second to none in fact.

                Since the early 1990s, it has been said that the AFL has just received it’s once in a lifetime broadcast rights, never to be repeated again, and then it would be much higher the next time, and the next time – etc, etc – in fact, over those 20 or so years, the average increase has been something like 55%.

                Anyway, at some point, yes, you might end up being right, the increase might be well, well below average – and finally, you’ll be able to say: I told you so!!

                The other thing that the non-AFL people don’t understand is that back in 1987, the newly formed AFL commission walked away from Channel 7 for a year. Basically sold the rights to some no-name middle man, and said to him, do whatever you want with it.

                That took a lot of guts, a lot of conviction, a good understanding of the true value of the rights. Channel 7 came back the following year, and held them for the next 10 years.

                Much of what the AFL has now, is a direct consequence of its willingness to stare down a TV station.

                But I promise you, not many sports can do that.

        • February 4th 2012 @ 5:27pm
          Titus said | February 4th 2012 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

          I would say that charging Telstra $150 million for a service that its competitors can provide without paying a cent would indicate an overvaluation.

          • Roar Guru

            February 4th 2012 @ 6:17pm
            The Cattery said | February 4th 2012 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

            Telstra are sticking with the deal – they must still see value in it – they could have walked if they thought they were on solid ground.

            • February 4th 2012 @ 7:19pm
              stabpass said | February 4th 2012 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

              Business is business, however, you can burn your bridges, and Optus may be burning theirs, it may cost them more to get into bed with either the NRL or AFL next time they need/want/contract them, and nothing is surer than, that, they will need them again !.

              You can guarantee that all parties will have long memories, the aggrieved parties moreso.

              • February 4th 2012 @ 8:09pm
                Titus said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

                Oh well, there is always Football, Cricket, Rugby, NFL, Athletics. Probably get a better deal on them also.

              • February 4th 2012 @ 8:20pm
                stabpass said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                Thats true, there is also ten pin bowling, and skateboarding, however there is nothing like the premier football comps, that play in the traditional football season, and in particular the most popular and most profitable one, …….. the AFL …… the Australian Football League.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 1:20pm
                Australian Rules said | February 5th 2012 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                There’s no bridge burning here, believe me.

                If the AFL thought Optus was the more valuable partner next time round, they would not hesitate to jump in bed. I actually think Demetriou & Co would be quietly impressed with how Optus have gone about things. And all the free marketing that the AFL and Telstra have given Optus for their new product is just priceless.

                In terms of whether a broadcast deal is/was “over-valued”…it’s a silly argument. A product is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Property and share markets work exactly the same way. As soon as someone starts talking about something being “over-valued”, it’s clearly just a personal opinion that reflects their own subjective views on the product.

                The executives at Ch7, Telstra and Fox brokered the deal, knew exactly what the were paying, walked away and probably gave themselves bonuses. Job well done.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 1:37pm
                stabpass said | February 5th 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                @ AR, you are possibly right, that there will be no burning of bridges, however, i can also see that in business some things are considered more personal than others. Is this one of them ? … who knows !, but when there is 150 million involved i can see it getting that way.

                The AFL has a very strong leadership group, which is sometimes good and at other times bad, it appears to me, if you are trying to get one up on AD, you gotta be pretty switched on.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 2:45pm
                Titus said | February 5th 2012 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                The “value” that someone is willing to pay only holds true if they themselves are able to resell for that same value(and hopefully more).

                Telstra pays $150 million, Optus pays $0 for the same thing, hard to see how Telstra will make the money back there unless they value add to their product.

                Channel 7 pays $500 million, but the product doesn’t rate well in the eastern half of Australia, and has a fairly limited appeal outside of older Australian demographics. The diehard fans will no doubt watch the games uniterupted on PayTV thus diluting the channel 7 product that was said to be losing money on the deal as it was, meanwhile new narrowcast media further dilutes the advertising dollar.

                PayTV pays $500million for something that still has good coverage on FTA, with NRL/AFLand a growing list of sporting events on FTA it is hard to tell how many people will pay $70 a month to watch something they can still watch for free.

                What the media buyers have failed to grasp is that people want more choice, variety and at better value. As someone who wants to only pay to watch Football, I am reluctant to pay the Foxtel prices that have been jacked up to cover the AFL’s massive media deal. I am hoping for the right to purchase just Football at a reasonable price, the FTA coverage of AFL and NRL will be plenty for me and of all my mates who are NRL fans I don’t know of one that has Foxtel.

                People have proposed that things like music and movie piracy are destroying the product but I envisage that the internet and new media will open up the chance for more musicians, greater variety and a wider audience. Eventually a way of making money that cuts out the middle man and the greedy corporations will be found. Everyone is happy to pay for something they are interested in if the price is reasonable.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 3:46pm
                stabpass said | February 5th 2012 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                @titus said …… The “value” that someone is willing to pay only holds true if they themselves are able to resell for that same value(and hopefully more).

                Incorrect !!, and it has been pointed out to you several times on this thread alone, that ‘value’ in this instance (AFL rights), is what is payed for at the time.

                I might also point out that many people/companies buy things that never make money, or they never intend to make money out of them., but still value them.

                Please prove that you have to pay more for Foxtel because the AFL is on it.

                Please prove the AFL has a limited appeal outside of the older Australian demo

              • Roar Guru

                February 5th 2012 @ 6:42pm
                Redb said | February 5th 2012 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

                Titus, tell us about the borefest last nIght.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 7:29pm
                Boomshanka said | February 5th 2012 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                Redb

                With respect to the Borefest we trust you enjoyed courtesy of the NRL’s broadcasting partner, Big Momma’s House, City Slickers 2 and Antique Roadshow, instead of the big game that’s about to hit primetime Melbourne TV screens later this year.

                Enjoy the change.

    • February 4th 2012 @ 3:21pm
      sheek said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

      My head hurts……….

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