Are the Sky negotiations being used as a pretext to save money?

The Herald reported:

The New Zealand Herald has withdrawn its reporting team from the Rio after failing to secure an agreement with Sky Television over use of Games footage on its news website.

Managing Editor Shayne Currie today confirmed the Herald has informed the New Zealand Olympic Committee of its decision which follows similar action taken by Media last night. Neither organisation will now send reporters, photographers and videographers to Rio but will still cover the Games.

Currie said “unduly restrictive” conditions imposed by Sky, who have purchased New Zealand broadcasting rights for the Games from the International Olympic Committee, had driven the decision.

“This has been a difficult decision but ultimately we cannot accept what we view as unduly restrictive and unnecessary News Access Rules as proposed by the New Zealand rights holder, Sky Television,” Currie said. “These do not allow for fair-use of copyright material in accordance with the New Zealand Copyright Act and have the potential to impact heavily on our ability to cover the Games in a fair and meaningful way.

“We also believe that they run counter to the Olympic charter. As a result, NZME Publishing – publisher of New Zealand’s biggest newspaper, the NZ Herald; one of the two largest New Zealand news websites, nzherald.co.nz; and five regional daily newspapers – will no longer be sending a team of journalists to Rio.

“Through our syndicated agencies and partnerships, plus with our award-winning sports journalists in New Zealand, we will be doing our utmost to provide the best Games coverage possible.”

Fairfax confirmed a similar position with executive editor Sinead Boucher saying the conditions Sky had sought to impose around Games footage were “unprecedented”.

I feel sorry for the Fairfax and NZME sports journalists who won’t now get to cover the Olympics from Rio. The cynical side of me wonders if the Sky negotiations were used as a pretext so the soon to be combined company could save on the costs of having 20 journalists travel over there?

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