Free TV Australia Stands Firm on Anti-Siphoning Rules


SYDNEY: Free TV Australia has rejected the latest calls from pay TV to undermine the anti-siphoning rules, which allow free-to-air networks to bid for big-ticket sporting events ahead of pay-TV operators.

Free TV Chairman Harold Mitchell said, “It’s a case of here we go again as pay TV attempts to force Australians to pay for sports they currently see for free.

“Millions of Australian sports fans are able to see a range of major sporting events because of the anti-siphoning rules. Any move to force them to pay to watch sports they currently see for free risks a strong voter backlash.

“The anti-siphoning list consists of ten sports plus the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. It is misleading to talk about the list containing thirteen hundred events.

“Free TV broadcasters show everything we acquire and you only have to look at television over summer to see there is more sport live and free than ever before.”

Mitchell cited OzTAM info that found that audiences for sport on free TV in 2015 were up 11.7 percent in metro and 6.3 percent in regional areas. He also pointed to research from Crosby/Textor that found that 88 percent of respondents believe sporting events should be available to all Australians for free.

“It’s clear that the Australian public do not want to be forced to pay to watch their favorite sports on television,” Mitchell said.

“And Free TV will continue to defend the rights of viewers to watch their favorite sport for free.”