Free TV Australia, an industry body representing free-to-air television licencees, has set up a website – Keep Sport Free – to gain support for their bid to retain a kind of monopoly on the broadcasting of certain sporting events. As background to the debate you should check out the material on this Government site:
Anti-siphoning rules for pay TV and sport.
If keeping sport free meant keeping it free of ads then they’d have something.
The anti-siphoning list currently includes rugby, netball, golf and a lot of other things which could just as well be on pay TV so I don’t have to stumble across them when channel surfing – trying to escape reality (read fake emotion games) shows and forensic or medical dramas. The popular items like AFL won’t fully migrate to pay TV because the sports themselves won’t want to lose their audiences.
I myself don’t have pay TV and even though I may have watched some of the sports if they had remained on free-to-air I’m not phased that I’ve opted to read a book instead. And thank goodness for DVDs. I can watch that fabulous Grand Final ad free and free from the crisis of faith that Geelong could possibly lose the encounter.
Ads on TV increase the cost of the products advertised so that the expenditure on ads is recovered. Don’t think that free-to-air channels don’t come with a price. I won’t go into their psychological imperative to alter your perception of the world so as to make you a more confident consumer.
TV has turned sport into money and in this disconnected postmodern world, money will decide where sports shall be seen. And I’m sure we’ll get to see what we want to see one way or another.