Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell has admitted the network’s drive on sport pushed it a bit too far in permitting Tom Waterhouse to promote betting odds during TV coverage of live games.
Nine had up until now refused to be drawn on the controversy involving bookmaker Waterhouse, who enjoys a lucrative sponsorship of Nine's NRL coverage.
However, this morning Gyngell admitted Nine “over-egged it” and said he felt it was the right decision to pull back on the spruik of live odds during live sport.
"I probably got too driven on sport, you know what your watching, you want the information, without the thought that there are a lot of kids watching they’re absorbing this and this is not good information for them so we’ve pulled back from that now and I think that’s the right balance,” Gyngell told GroupM’s chairman and CEO John Steedman at Mumbrella360.
“I think we over-egged it and I think we’ve pulled back from it. And personally and emotionally, being the father of a new child, I don’t want my child to saying all the odds either, but at the same time, it’s the way you do it. People are allowed to receive information. It’s legal if it’s done properly. I think we pushed it too far, I respect that. But I think equally we all go jumping on the bandwagon of something that has been around for a while, if you don’t like it its still horrific to you as far as the people are concerned,” said Gyngell, adding that sport remains a "must have” for networks as he Nine's securing of the rights for cricket in Australia in recent days.
Gyngell also provided an insight into a change in the workplace culture at Nine in recent years since he took over.
“Building a great culture is really really hard, unless they [staff] know what you stand for and what the rest of your management stand for. That blokey culture is crap, because that’s not Channel Nine's style … it was, but those days are gone long ago."
Gyngell also had an opinion on rival Channel Ten’s recent woes, stating that: “You have to stand for something, the audience has to believe what you are standing for," adding that he thinks that’s where Channel Ten is struggling to get a cut through right now.