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Broadcast options for Australian Rugby

sneaker

Stan Wickham (3)
Apart from the International tests, free to air TV channels will not pay for Super Rugby for the following reasons

- - Games in different time zones
- - Most games will be on the same time as AFL, NRL
- - I doubt foxtel would want to give up its total exclusive deal seeing when foxtel was first introduced in the mid 90’s Super Rugby was a big draw card to get customers on board
- - Most Australians do not understand union as its more complex
- - There needs to be serious grassroot development ( I went to a public school everyone played league, union was on offer but essentially it was just other leaguies playing with no idea equally poor skills and performance of the game). I played club rugby for 12 years where all of it was Private school guys, only 2 others in my team went to public schools.
- - League is easier to play when you are kid ( we all played league 2 vs 2 with your mates) Rugby is a team sport bit hard to play when you only got 4 players, so its harder to convert people when they played like this since they were a kid. Same with touch football it’s a league spin off.
- - Free to air channels will only look at the money and not the potential to build and audience over 3-4 countries
- - Foxtel subscribers would also be the base of the Union followers (potentially people who can afford it)



We need a third tier comp, I think it would be easier to poor money into QLD,NSW, VIC,WA comps e.g. souths, east, uni ( 5 top teams from each state) Use them as proper feeder clubs, sign up guys at high school level. I am sure some of this is done now but compared to NRL, AFL seems quite amateur, you need to spend big dollars on grassroots it will pay off down the track. E.g Berrick Barnes and James Oconnor were NRL and AFL throw backs (spotted first by other codes)

Either way the habits of viewers are changing, free to air is on a slow decline, viewers want to view things on their phone, Pc, etc at different times when they like, and I think its only mater off time before subscription based TV will over take FTA.

Some how unless union really takes to public schools we will always be no. 3 in Australian sport therefore the FTA will not pay or want to compete with the other networks codes.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
It seems to me that our best avenue to increase revenue and viewership is to try and ensure that in future, domestic test rugby on FTA is shown on Ten. They have no major sports and don't have the vested interest of protecting their flagship NRL or AFL rights from being even slightly cannibalised by rugby tests.
 

fatprop

Jason Little (69)
Staff member
I think Fox is the way to go for Super Rugby games. We wouldn't get every game on tv if it was free to air. No doubt in the world.

But why not invest in getting a decent free to air weekly analysis show? Decent highlights clips from the fox feed, but then some interviews etc. Basically the Rugby Club (or On the couch) on 9 or something. A more likely scenario.

Something like Total Rugby/S15 highlights (like the Premier League Highlight shows) would be good

But ratings wise when would they run the thing?

A couple of dud weeks and it would 12.30am on a Tuesday
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
It seems to me that our best avenue to increase revenue and viewership is to try and ensure that in future, domestic test rugby on FTA is shown on Ten. They have no major sports and don't have the vested interest of protecting their flagship NRL or AFL rights from being even slightly cannibalised by rugby tests.

With the introduction of the digital platform in FTA broadcasting I think it would be entirely possible to have all the Super Rugby games broadcast on FTA as they are currently on Fox. This is also why I suggested the split from Super Rugby (I will say I do enjoy Super Rugby but for these purposes I would be prepared to dissolve the competition) to form a TT Championship of 10-12 teams playing on a home and way basis. We all know that the Aus and NZ games would rate and its the SA component that makes it unattractive to local broadcasters due to the time slots involved. This would provide both Aus and NZ with meaningful competition at a high level and local broadcasters with friendly product that they could develop. The SA's would then be able to focus on the CC. From my understanding also is that in terms of value, its the Test match aspect to the deal that provides the real value. The simple answer there is keep the Rugby Championship.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
The South African viewership provides a lot of the revenue for Super Rugby. Comparatively, the Australian and New Zealand markets are small and the pool of funds would shrink dramatically.

Foxtel will never allow Super Rugby games to be simulcast on FTA as Super Rugby is one of the main products that allows them to sell Foxtel subscriptions. They don't really care about test rugby being shown on FTA (even if it is simulcast) because they've already got the subscribers locked up from Super Rugby.
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
The South African viewership provides a lot of the revenue for Super Rugby. Comparatively, the Australian and New Zealand markets are small and the pool of funds would shrink dramatically.

Foxtel will never allow Super Rugby games to be simulcast on FTA as Super Rugby is one of the main products that allows them to sell Foxtel subscriptions. They don't really care about test rugby being shown on FTA (even if it is simulcast) because they've already got the subscribers locked up from Super Rugby.

However, they must realise that having one game every week on FTA would grow the potential audience for the game, and some of that growth would spill over into their coverage.

How many of us who have Fox would ditch it just because one game a week is on FTA?


My guess: none.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
That's probably a fair point.

If the Saturday 7:30pm game was simulcast on FTA, Foxtel wouldn't really lose out on much and the audience for Super Rugby would increase.

Saturday night would be the best as it doesn't coincide with any FTA Loig.
 

BDA

Peter Johnson (47)
Until we get issues with the public appeal of the game sorted out the networks won't want to give FTA coverage of Super Rugby because it doesn't rate. If it doesn't rate it doesn't pay.

The way the game is played just doesn't appeal to a public weaned on League and AFL at the grassroots while Union maintains its aloof and elite non-engagement and fails to effectively expand its junior level programs outside existing nurseries and the private school system.

League is a simple, fast and flashy game even the uninitiated can get their heads around quickly. Union has more complex rules, more subtlety that is harder for Joe Public to easily understand and is dogged by issues like excessive reliance on penalties in scoring, scrum collapses and time wasting, turgid and negative play, a lack of consistent flair in attack (where is the "running Rugby"), pointless kicking in general play etc.

How many new fans would the last Bledisloe Cup match have won over?

Rugby is just never going to have the mass market appeal in Australia required to compete with the AFL or NRL on TV rights. It had better sort it's issues out though or it will struggle to improve at all.

Well Said... I don't agree with people on this board saying that Rugby will never be more than a minor sport in Australia. the passion and the history is there. When the Bledisloe or the World Cup comes around the Wallabies fans tend to come out of the wood work. The hard thing is converting those fans. This bullshit style of uninspiring rugby the Wallabies (and Super teams) are playing at the moment only fuels the negative fire of casual fans.

Karl has hit the nail on the head by stating that, whilst the main objective is national free to air coverage, that will never be a reality unless we address two things:-
1) the availability of the game to youngsters; and
2) the quality of our televised product.

This year, the difference in entertainment value between the NZ Super derbys and the Australian derbys was about as wide as the grand canyon. I knew sitting down to watch a Chiefs v Saders, or Canes v Highlanders, I was going to be entertain and i was going to see physicality and skill. The problem is casual Aussie fans wont sit down and watch the NZ derbys. They couldn't give a shit. They'll watch the Aussie derbys which are boring as batshit and turn the TV off after 30 minutes whilst they remember why they prefer league. It's really hard to convert fans when that is the extent of their exposure.

The new Super format is meant to breath life back into Aus rugby, but at the moment its doing the opposite. When did australian rugby teams become so negative and uninspiring????????????

Of those two points listed above number 1 is difficult to address but number 2 isn't! I really hope the Super teams and the players all sit down for round table discussion before next season and come to the agreement that they are going to go out there and entertain, and throw caution to the win and not try to see which team can be more conservative. Easier said than done but I think is becoming necessary.

Winning is important but in Australia, where the competition for paying fans is intense, entertainment is key. Seriously the Aus teams couldn't have done any worse this year so if they're going to suck they might as well put out a decent product with a bit of entertainment value.
 

sneaker

Stan Wickham (3)
I disagree with uninspiring.. the reds for the last two seasons have been one the most entertaining teams.. but overall they are the exception to the rule
 

BDA

Peter Johnson (47)
The Reds are the exception to the rule and even they generally shut up shop against the aussie teams
 

Rob42

Arch Winning (36)
Agree with Karl regarding making more better rugby before hoping for lots of FTA coverage.

In the meantime, it would be worth the ARU pushing Fox to keep plenty of overseas and Super rugby on their on-line broadcasts, for Xbox and some smart TVs, etc. It will be a growing market, and cheaper than the normal Foxtel. I think last Super season they showed roughly two games per weekend, but only after the A-League had finished. Plenty of space for more.
 

Badger

Bill McLean (32)
The NBL is offering a 2012/13 full season pass for $79 or monthly access for $19. It will be interesting to see how successful this offering is.

http://www.nbl.com.au/news/article/2012/august/landmark-broadcast-deal/

This is the future. The AFL also looks to be positioning itself to produce their own broadcasts. Whether rugby heads down this path is up in the air. It will come down to the $$$. If they could make it work financially, then I would have no probs stumping up for a season pass. It would still have to deal with the anti-siphoning laws. Should the commercial networks not want to pay for the diminished value of the rights, then offer the broadcast to the ABC or SBS.

Longer term, I reckon Foxtel's business model will start leaking. Whoever wants Foxtel have probably already subscribed, so market penetration is peaking if it has not already peaked. One of the key attractions of Pay TV is live sport. If viewers are able to access their live sport direct from the sporting bodies, then there goes one of the key reasons why people subscribe as most of the other stuff can be accessed elsewhere
 

Melbourne Terrace

Darby Loudon (17)
fuck fta, that platform is destined to become irrelevant within 10 years with the advent of internet provided television. They will never give rugby a break and any future dealing with them without a guarantee of quality live coverage is just another backwards step. If the ARU really want more QUALITY exposure they should either be pushing a live online streamed PPV option similar to what the American Sports do with Streamed 'Season Passes' or lobbying foxtel to release a cheaper sports only package on mobile devices similar to Sky Sports Mobile TV in the UK in which you can 'try before you buy' the whole thing for 6 Pounds a month to push more people to get pay tv.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
fuck fta, that platform is destined to become irrelevant within 10 years with the advent of internet provided television. They will never give rugby a break and any future dealing with them without a guarantee of quality live coverage is just another backwards step. If the ARU really want more QUALITY exposure they should either be pushing a live online streamed PPV option similar to what the American Sports do with Streamed 'Season Passes' or lobbying foxtel to release a cheaper sports only package on mobile devices similar to Sky Sports Mobile TV in the UK in which you can 'try before you buy' the whole thing for 6 Pounds a month to push more people to get pay tv.

I'm all for the online streaming idea. My question relates more to cost more than anything else. By that I mean in the set up. With mny if not most new TVs now coming with internet capability it could certainly be worthwhile investigating. Though at least initially it would need to be the local competitions and such as it would be too much of an initial risk in terms of finances to go down the this track with Super Rugby. I know there is already a group doing this, but to pull it off it would require additional content likely from both the Brisbane and ACT competitions and more camera's to cover the game. The question then would be "will people pay to watch club rugby" if it was provided as a bundle? Or would we need to seriously look to once again try and establish another competition to fill the gap and create value.

The 'try before you buy' option you suggest seems very interesting. Let me get this straight. Sky broadcasts this channel on the same platform as say BBC and such? If so, then it would be interesting to get in Foxtel ear about this as putting the option of a sports package up on the FTA digital platform would actually make good business sense as long its for a a similar fee to the Sky version. They'd expand their audience quite significantly.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
fuck fta, that platform is destined to become irrelevant within 10 years with the advent of internet provided television. They will never give rugby a break and any future dealing with them without a guarantee of quality live coverage is just another backwards step. If the ARU really want more QUALITY exposure they should either be pushing a live online streamed PPV option similar to what the American Sports do with Streamed 'Season Passes' or lobbying foxtel to release a cheaper sports only package on mobile devices similar to Sky Sports Mobile TV in the UK in which you can 'try before you buy' the whole thing for 6 Pounds a month to push more people to get pay tv.

Actually, if someone was to think proactively about online streaming at the ARU, this could prove to be a far more viable option than I my have first thought for Super Rugby. I think we'd be dreaming to assume that they would change a mere $79 for a season pass but if the costing were done I think with the right set up, it could actually provide a boon for the game in terms of financing its professional aspects and development in the country. The more I think of it, the more I'm sold on the idea but it would need the ARU to look to fill the content beyond just the current set ups such as a re-introduction of the ARC or ARC like competition.
 
T

TOCC

Guest
fuck fta, that platform is destined to become irrelevant within 10 years with the advent of internet provided television. They will never give rugby a break and any future dealing with them without a guarantee of quality live coverage is just another backwards step. If the ARU really want more QUALITY exposure they should either be pushing a live online streamed PPV option similar to what the American Sports do with Streamed 'Season Passes' or lobbying foxtel to release a cheaper sports only package on mobile devices similar to Sky Sports Mobile TV in the UK in which you can 'try before you buy' the whole thing for 6 Pounds a month to push more people to get pay tv.

You say fuck FTA, but 10 years represents $2.5billion in broadcast rights for the NRL and a significant figure for the ARU as well...

PPV, IPTV.. All these are not prominent platforms in Australia, thus they are not the solution to gaining a wider audience for Rugby Union, Japan have a large PPV market and its also the reason why Rugby Union remains a niche sport in this country because it is limited to PPV....

IPTV will also be a niche market for the next decade, it is not the immediate solution to rugby unions problems and anyone thinking that PPV IPTV will be any better then the current situation with Foxtel is a little bit mislead, they will still require a subscription fee and will not be available to the wider public...

Thus we come back to the situation, Foxtel is our current best platform for the game, they will not budge on their prices considering last year was the first time they have ever posted a profit, economies of scale may dictate that Foxtel becomes proportionately cheaper, but this is yet to be seen.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
You say fuck FTA, but 10 years represents $2.5billion in broadcast rights for the NRL and a significant figure for the ARU as well.

PPV, IPTV.. All these are not prominent platforms in Australia, thus they are not the solution to gaining a wider audience for Rugby Union, Japan have a large PPV market and its also the reason why Rugby Union remains a niche sport in this country because it is limited to PPV..

IPTV will also be a niche market for the next decade, it is not the immediate solution to rugby unions problems and anyone thinking that PPV IPTV will be any better then the current situation with Foxtel is a little bit mislead, they will still require a subscription fee and will not be available to the wider public.

Thus we come back to the situation, Foxtel is our current best platform for the game, they will not budge on their prices considering last year was the first time they have ever posted a profit, economies of scale may dictate that Foxtel becomes proportionately cheaper, but this is yet to be seen.

That certainly is a risk for the game. However, say if the package came in at say $200/year spread over 12 payments and say that you got 200,000 to sign up, when you consider we only got $122 million over 5 years last time, then the game is already comfortably ahead in terms of finances just for Super Rugby (Test would have to stay on FTA). The more money you generate, the more you can put back into development which in terms would build the audience willing to pay $15-25 a month to watch the streamed channel. Perhaps we are looking at it all wrong. Maybe we should be looking to use our current numbers to help move the game forward first before we look to capture new markets.
 
T

TOCC

Guest
Realistically IPTV will be used to complement PayTV, whether this is done through Foxtel or another company(Telstra?) will be a matter for the next broadcast agreement, but it will certainly come into discussions.

I certainly dont feel it is an alternative nor do I think it will capture a mass market in the next decade, longer term it could very well be a alternative platform though..
 
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