CAPTION: Newspapers and pay TV are in an Olympian tussle.
They claim that the agreement requires them to sign away fair dealing rights for the Games. Sky insists that is because it is offering more than fair dealings anyway. Sky also insists it is giving away more than other video rights holders and is offering to sell further rights. The terms 0f those sales are not clear. In my opinion this appears to be something of a public relations play by the newspaper companies which are taking the high ground claiming they are staying home as a matter of journalist integrity.
Sky TV spokeswoman Kirsty Way said that if media took more than their allotted free video content, Sky would seek an injunction to stop them.
There is no shortage of public distrust of Sky TV, especially over its sports coverage and dominance of sports rights. Its brand has been rock bottom lately, and there have been hopes it might improve after the corporate merger with Vodafone.(Though Voda has its own image problems.) From a PR perspective though, you wonder if the public will make the connection they want. Will anyone will be championing the newspaper companies for pulling out even on such weighty assertions of journalist integrity.
Here are a few elements in why this is a good time for newspapers to take on Sky and demand more free video rights.
- The timing means that the events will be held outside prime time – between around 11 pm and 10am NZ time – and much of the coverage will be available free on Prime. The timing could not be worse for print newspapers.
- When New Zealanders start winning people will tu Sky or Prime. But many expect that a lot of the news about Rio will have nothing to do with Sky. Problems with pollution, politics, Zika flies and the potential for terrorism.
- On the face of it Stuff and nzherald.co.nz will still be able to take some video clips of the games as part of the free dealings. The newspaper withdrawal to cover the Olympics from New Zealand will be good television, though TVNZ and TV3 will have similar restrictions.
- There are always issues over the amount of free video content during big sport events. TV companies have dealt with the issue for a long time.
- This time the newspaper companies have pushed onto online coverage video content. They will want to limit their costs buying content.
- NZME and Fairfax New Zealand have sought Commerce Commission approval to merge.
- So have Sky TV and Vodafone. The merged company is expected to develop its business for video clips on mobile phones.