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Thread: Nine and Stan back in the picture

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    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.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...08-p56386.html

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    Again the NRC is still being mentioned so it might not be dead.

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    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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    I know many might have already seen this on the roar but it's worth a post.

    Welcome competition in the rugby broadcast rights race - and a farewell, for now…

    Brett McKay
    27 Oct 2020

    There’s no doubt that coming into the last week of October without a broadcast rights deal in place for 2021 is less than ideal for Rugby Australia. But developments over the last week or so suggest that whatever deal is done from here is going to be a whole lot better than expected.

    The initial reporting a few weeks ago around the Nine Network’s sudden interest in rugby was – I think – met with a healthy amount of scepticism. Why would a network who built its winter sporting viewing base around rugby league, and whose personalities in that sport have never needed an invitation to dump on rugby, now be interested in broadcasting the 15-man code?

    Rugby fans in Australia haven’t forgotten the token showings Nine gave in the couple of years they held the international rights between and including the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

    But was this genuine interest, or was this a classic broadcast negotiation tactic: plant the story of ‘genuine’ interest from a potential rival bidder after meeting for a coffee and a chat and not being politely declined?

    And even if there was a bit of faint interest, was this a classic broadcast negotiation tactic of trying to turn that “hmm, maybe” into something more concrete by fleshing out a response in public?

    However it came about, the interest was from Nine and is genuine enough that Rugby Australia received a bid.

    Early last week, Nine Entertainment Co. used its newspaper mastheads – where have we seen this tactic before? – to confirm that a $30 million bid for the broadcast rights had indeed been lodged with Rugby Australia, with the firm aim of trying to wrest the game away from Fox Sports, the game’s only Australian broadcast partner over the 25-year history of Super Rugby.

    The headlines couldn’t scream their one big selling point more obviously: rugby could be on free-to-air TV next year!

    This in itself was the classic broadcast negotiation equivalent of stacking the supermarket checkouts with chocolate bars and lollies.

    But in confirming the offer, Nine also conceded that their bid was as much as ten million dollars lower than the offer submitted by Fox Sports in the weeks preceding. Reports indicated Fox’s bid was somewhere around the $35-40 million range, which is essentially the same as what they paid this year after renegotiations.

    Their plan appears to be showing one Super Rugby game per week on free-to-air TV, with the rest stuck away on their subscription streaming service Stan, which would represent an Australian first in terms of streaming platforms expanding into the realm of live sport (Kayo and Foxtel services notwithstanding).

    Whether that one game – Saturday night, presumably – is on the ‘main’ Nine channel or one of the digital offshoots isn’t clear, wasn’t outlined, and frankly doesn’t matter. They’re all just numbers on the remote either way.

    Further, the formerly Fairfax papers are also reporting that Nine wants all-in for Wallabies Tests as well – both those played in our neck of the woods, and the Spring Tour fixtures that tend to bounce between broadcasters of both the free-to-air and pay-TV models, and whose deals are often done late in the piece. Nine wants to be the home of the Wallabies, at home and abroad. And they want exclusivity, too.

    What I’ve found particularly fascinating in all the reporting is that Nine and Fox Sports have bid for the same content from RA: Wallabies Tests, Super Rugby (in whatever form that takes next year and beyond), and the proposed State of Union concept.

    Intriguingly, both networks also want the National Rugby Championship, which I don’t mind admitting I had naturally assumed was going to be a casualty of both the negotiations and the global pandemic. For all the talk about national club competition formats, it’s entirely unexpected to see both networks ask for the NRC by name.



    The NRC… so you’re saying there’s a chance?

    The Nine development was interesting enough, but Fox Sports seemingly haven’t played all their cards yet.

    Already holding something of an advantage with the higher financial offering, the news emerged last week that Foxtel are toying with the idea of making some content on their Kayo platform free to access. The news came to light in the context of their Supercars coverage, but Sydney Morning Herald reporting included the line, “Sources familiar with RA’s rights negotiations confirmed Foxtel had pitched Super Rugby games being broadcast for free on Kayo as an alternative to an offer from Nine Entertainment Co”.

    If Nine were going to toss up an offer comprising free and subscription access, this was Fox dishing up the same.

    By now, rugby fans in Australia could no longer contain their grin. This was genuine competition, and it’s got a bit to go yet. RA has finally got exactly the competitive tension they dreamed of, and even the competitive tension that Raelene Castle alluded to 12 months ago but effectively paid the price of her job for.

    Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. I don’t think it’s that big a jump from here to see revised offers forthcoming from either party.

    Nine could yet offer up more money and a guarantee of the main channel on Saturday nights. Fox could further sweeten their offer with a free-to-air simulcast partner. You couldn’t even rule out the two parties coming to a mutual arrangement around content and production sharing.

    I don’t have any inclination which way it’s heading. But I do find it all absolutely and utterly fascinating.

    Read more: https://www.theroar.com.au/2020/10/2...ewell-for-now/

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    The Force are going to be busy next year if the Highlander CEO is right and there is going to be a a trans-tasman comp next year.
    Thats 8 Super Au and 2 finals, plus 5 games against the Kiwis and 2 finals. Thats a possible 17 Super games and then 8 NRC games plus 2 finals.
    Thats totals 27 possible games.
    We just need the WA borders to be open, so we can watch half of those games at home.

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    Hopefully the High Court will open them on Nov 4. The more nonsense that McGowan talks further proving that the border is shut for political not medical reasons it will be reopened before the March election.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Hopefully the High Court will open them on Nov 4. The more nonsense that McGowan talks further proving that the border is shut for political not medical reasons it will be reopened before the March election.
    As long as the Victorian mouth breathers are barred.

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    Hard border being replaced with controlled border.

    Those in SA, NT, Qld, ACT and Tasmania can enter without quarantine from November 14 - may need to submit to a temperature check and a Covid test at the Airport.

    Those in NSW and Victoria will still need to hotel quarantine for 14 days when arriving, Covid test at the airport and a second test on day 11 of quarantine.

    Hard border may be reintroduced if community spread in other states gets out of hand once again.

    Source - watching Emperor McGowans press conference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Hard border being replaced with controlled border.......from November 14
    Bugger!! I was hoping for Sunday. Plenty of time to drive to Adelaide by Wednesday night.

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    Was planning on heading to Adelaide before Covid was a thing - every time I had a look at tickets in the past fortnight the Ticketek website has said public allocation exhausted so hopefully that means a good crowd will be there even if it's only 50% capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Was planning on heading to Adelaide before Covid was a thing - every time I had a look at tickets in the past fortnight the Ticketek website has said public allocation exhausted so hopefully that means a good crowd will be there even if it's only 50% capacity.
    Thanks. We had originally planned to fly over. Mrs' sister lives there. So 2 birds, 1 stone. Still giving it some thought as late as yesterday - drive and stay till the border opens. Hadn't got as far as checking tickets. Not much point now. Bloody Covid!!

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    Thinking about Qld for game 3 - haven't checked for tickets yet and it's after the hard border comes down.

    Those pea heart Queenslanders likely won't show up this year

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    Remember where all aussies

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloppy View Post
    Remember where all aussies
    Keep those plague rat Victorians on the other side of the country.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Keep those plague rat Victorians on the other side of the country.
    Haha. The Trump Solution. Build a wall and make the Vics pay for it?

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