The Commerce Commission is being urged to widen its investigation into Sky Television to include the pay-TV network’s dealings with taxpayer-funded national sport organisations.
Labour MP Clare Curran and former deputy prime minister Jim Anderton both expressed strong concern to the Sunday Star-Times about “rapacious” demands Sky enforces on sports bodies for coverage of their events, and its monopoly of the broadcast market.
The pair said Sky’s actions were undermining New Zealand’s ability to secure major international sporting events.
In recent years, Sky has begun demanding fees from national sports organisations to broadcast their events.
These can be as high as $100,000 to $200,000 per event with Sky telling sports administrators they are needed to pay for outside broadcast costs.
NSOs hoping to secure broadcasting fees from Sky for their events are becoming increasingly alarmed that their coverage is now coming at a cost, rather than as a revenue stream.
Well this is an easy solution. If an NSO thinks they are paying too much to get their event broadcast by Sky, they should ask TVNZ or TV3 to broadcast it for less money.
If none of them are willing to broadcast it for free, well then obviously there are not enough viewers for it.
Some may argue that Sky may have purchased exclusive rights to the event. But if they have, and they then do not broadcast it, they are pouring money down the drain. It is in their interest to make some money out of it by selling the rights to another broacaster.
Curran, Labour’s spokeswoman for broadcasting, wants the Commerce Commission’s investigation into Sky to include the sports deals.
Why? Just because something is not free, does not mean it is illegal.
Because TVNZ, TV3 and Maori TV don’t have the financial clout or broadcast facilities to compete with Sky, NSOs and sports event promoters have only one market player to negotiate with.
Nonsense. TVNZ absolutely have the broadcast facilities to compete. And this misses the point – if an event is uneconomic to broadcast, then it is not about financial clout.
The reality is that the costs of covering many sporting events do not cover the advertising or subscription revenue from broadcasting them. Perhaps Clare is suggesting taxpayers should spend money on broadcasting sporting events?
It’s understood Hockey New Zealand had to pay Sky a significant fee for coverage of the recent men’s Champions Trophy tournament in Auckland.
Probably because not that many people wanted to watch it.
Plus if sports bodies were smart they would embrace the Internet age. They could film their sporting events themselves, and live stream them for fans.