The Ten Network’s CEO Paul Anderson has weighed into the potential loss of gambling advertising from free to air television, arguing Seven, Nine and his network’s loss will be Facebook and Google’s gain.
As reported on B&T yesterday, the federal government is weighing-up whether to ban online sports betting ads on TV, namely during live sport broadcasts. The ban, the government hopes, would appease anti-gambling senator Nick Xenophon who, in turn, would vote in favour of its changes to media ownership laws due to be debated in the senate in the coming weeks.
The irony is the free-to-air players stand to lose about $120 million in ad revenue if a ban was approved, however, as compensation the government would reportedly reduce their license fees by the same amount.
Quoted in the media today, Anderson bemoaned that the free-to-air networks where already heavily censored in what types types of gambling advertising they could show and at what times.
“Sports betting advertising is plastered on buses and around sporting grounds, and it is all over the internet including on Facebook and Instagram,” Anderson said.
“But once again, all we are talking about is placing more restrictions on free-to-air television which already has tighter controls around gambling advertising than any other media platform.”
Anderson added that he understood public concern around gambling advertising but said a ban would simply drive the spend to other platforms – chiefly Google and Facebook. It would be “another revenue hit” to the free to airs, he added, “which were already under severe financial strain.”
In mid-February, Anderson now famously said: “This industry is obviously under severe duress and yet commercial free-to-air television broadcasters continue to be penalised by the world’s most expensive broadcast licence fees.”
Nine’s boss, Hugh Marks, in an interview with B&T interpreted Anderson’s comments as: “I think that was released for a purpose that had to do with something other than the state of the market, (and that was) about licensing. It was an odd statement to make and I’ll leave that to them.”
Seven’s Tim Worner also weighed into the debate about banning sports gambling advertising, which critics claim bypasses laws preventing children watching such ads (all gambling ads are banned during children’s programming).