‘No winks or a nod’: News Corp boss denies secret government anti-siphoning deal

Australasian News Corp chairman, Michael Miller

Miller: “News Corp has made no deals, we’ve received no promises, no winks, or a nod, nothing”

News Corp’s executive chairman Michael Miller has categorically denied the company has made a secret deal with the government which would see the sport anti-siphoning list reduced following the Federal election.

The company which owns pay-TV broadcaster Fox Sports has been open in its criticism of the rules, which lists more than a thousand sporting events, with Miller telling the Senate Inquiry into media reform the Australian system was “world’s worst practice”.

He said in his opening statement: “I would like to reject any inference that a secret deal has been struck with the government to water down the anti-siphoning rules after the election. We’ve been very open in our position that anti-siphoning laws are world’s worst practice. 

“News Corp has made no deals, we’ve received no promises, no winks, or a nod, nothing.”

The extensive anti-siphoning list, which prohibits most sports and many major international tournaments from being broadcast exclusively on pay-TV platforms, has been blamed by many for Foxtel’s failure to raise its penetration of Australian households above 30%.

Asked about the problem later in the session, Miller said: “There’s a large number of sports that get offered to free-to-air networks, and Foxtel cannot bid in that process, but it doesn’t prohibit new players like Twitter and YouTube entering that market and these are real players in sport now.

“It is anti-competitive.

“What we’ve got here is world’s worst practice. In New Zealand there’s no anti-siphoning list, in the US there is none. In the UK they have 10 events – three of those are tournaments.

“How many do we have in Australia this year? 1,900. We’re supposed to be a sports-loving nation who are unable to ensure our sporting codes, our public are getting there amount of sport at the times that they want it.”

Alex Hayes


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