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Live coverage with new media laws

I was just wondering what was there for me in the proposed changes to the Australia media ownership laws announced last week by the Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan until I read this article in The Age. I like that idea that free-to-air networks that buy rights to sporting events will be forced to televise them or possibly lose those rights possibly to pay TV. That would be very good and that could mean that we will be able to watch most of Wimbledon live, especially in the second week and also for a change watch Formula 1 live.

Currently Channel 9 has got the rights to Wimbledon although Foxtel also shows some games live especially in the first week. This year in the second week of Wimbledon we missed some live matches that started at 9 pm local time because Channel 9's coverage was going to start around 11 pm. Compare this to the French Open where Foxtel have got the exclusive rights live coverage commences the moment play starts at Roland Garros.

Another sport whose rights are with a free-to-air network but is not shown live is Formula 1. Channel 10 has got the rights to F1 and its hardly broadcast live save for the Australian Grand Prix. Interestingly, pre-race coverage sometimes starts at around 1030pm for European races and this is normally 30 minutes into the actual race. Motor GP on the other hand is on Foxtel and this is always shown live.

These events could stay with free-to-air networks and as long as there is guaranteed live coverage there is no problem. Hopefully these new media laws will easily sort this out and get us viewers to get more live coverage of sporting events and stop the current practice where events are shown at a time most suitable to the television network. If a network has got no space for a sporting event then they won't have to buy the rights for the event or else they will be 'forced' to show it.

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