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Thread: Nine and Stan back in the picture

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Nine and Stan back in the picture

    Rugby Australia looks to strike rights deal with Nine

    By Zoe Samios and Tom Decent
    October 9, 2020 — 12.01am

    Nine Entertainment Co is in advanced talks with Rugby Australia about a broadcast deal that could reshape the sports rights landscape and result in games being shown on streaming platform Stan.

    Talks between the two organisations have continued despite an aggressive bid from pay TV operator Foxtel last week and an offer from incumbent free-to-air broadcaster Network Ten. But the main sticking point between the two parties is price and there is still no guarantee a deal will be finalised.

    Foxtel is still considered the front-runner for the rights, having broadcast rugby games in Australia for two decades. However, RA has been interested in striking a deal with Nine because of its free-to-air and subscription platforms, and approached the broadcaster in recent months. Nine is the owner of this masthead.

    Industry sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential, said Nine is willing to pay about $30 million a year in cash and free advertising, an offer smaller than what Foxtel has made but one that includes a free-to-air proposition for the sport.

    Under the deal, Nine would broadcast Super Rugby, Wallabies matches and the National Rugby Championship across its free-to-air network and subscription streaming service Stan. A deal could also result in a tournament such as the State of Union (a format similar to State of Origin, which runs on Nine) being aired on the network. Any deal with the media company would be short-term, lasting for less than five years. Representatives for Nine and RA declined to comment.

    Former Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle was determined to get more free-to-air coverage for the sport. Broadcasting any number of Super Rugby matches on free-to-air would help the sport reach a large amount of viewers, while Stan, as a subscription product, would provide loyal fans with extended match coverage.

    If Nine progresses with its bid it would dramatically change the positioning of online streaming service Stan, which currently runs a mix of international and local drama and film. Stan, which has about 2 million subscribers, turned its focus to local content in August in a bid to reduce its dependence on Hollywood studios and fight back against global streaming services that have entered Australia.

    The move would be a first in Australia, with a sport finding a home on a streaming-video-on-demand service. The deal would follow the likes of Amazon Prime, which secured the rights to the Autumn Nations Cup last month.

    Nine chief executive Hugh Marks refused to rule out a bid at the company's full-year results.

    "There’s a lot of work that rugby has to do before any broadcaster can get their head around [whether that is] an investment we are prepared to make for long-term gains," he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in August. "Something like rugby would require us to go into an investment phase to build it over five years to be a result. In the scheme of things we have at the moment, it’s not a big priority."

    The Australian first reported a deal could be done with Nine in September. But RA jumped the gun when it told other bidders that Nine had already made a formal offer.

    Fearful that Nine would make an aggressive play, industry sources said Foxtel made an offer of between $35m and $40m, despite previous claims the pay TV operator did not need the sport. Foxtel declined to comment.The broadcaster, which runs Fox Sports, offered to sign a new five-year deal late last year, but discussions fell apart over the pricing and it looked as though Foxtel was prepared to sever its two-decade long relationship altogether. In recent years Foxtel, which is jointly owned by News Corp and Telstra, has cut back on its rugby commentary budget and does not have a mid-week magazine show.

    Foxtel pays between $30m to $40m a year for rugby rights, but was hoping to renegotiate the price. It has already secured a discount on its rights for the AFL and NRL and is trying to renegotiate its deal with Cricket Australia. Foxtel's attempts to secure reductions are similar to other attempts by Nine and Seven West Media, which have argued the value of the sports have reduced because of factors related to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Nine's discussions also come despite an offer by Network Ten to broadcast the Wallabies Tests. The free-to-air broadcaster, which holds the rights, offered less than its current payment of about $3.5m a year. One of the reasons Nine and Ten do not want to pay large amounts for free-to-air rights is because of declining audiences. In 2015, the average audience for international Tests on Network Ten was about 345,000. In 2019 the audience figure was 194,000 and a lack of audience often results in less appeal for advertisers. Telco provider Optus, once considered the front-runner, did not express a formal interest in the revised broadcast rights package when it was released last month.​

    Foxtel, Ten and BSkyB are at the end of a $285m five-year deal with RA signed in 2015. Securing a new deal is crucial for the financial security of the code (a large amount of RA's revenue comes from broadcasters). RA is expected to make a final decision in the next couple of weeks.

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  2. #2
    Senior Player
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Again the NRC is still being mentioned so it might not be dead.

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  3. #3
    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The Bronze Star of Faith
    However not one identity actually confirmed anything, this is speculation at best and Rob Clarke bullshit at worst.

    The only quote from nine indicated that they'd be running it at a loss for 5 years in the hope of building it into something worthwhile, I'm not sure the current climate makes that an attractive proposition unless you think nrl or afl are going to explode in that time. Yeah, there is a chance that might happen, but it's so small it isn't measurable

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    C'mon the

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