Tennis fans turn against Seven over news interruptions

Seven has been fielding angry calls from tennis fans disappointed by the network’s decision to cut away from the Australian Open for the news and Today Tonight.  

Last night the dramatic quarter final match between Andy Roddick and Marin Cilic was interrupted by the evening news as it was heading into the fifth set.

And on Monday fans were angered by a similar decision to ditch the Serena Williams and Sam Stosur game. Fans have been using Twitter to encourage others to call Seven to complain.

Saying there had been more than 100 complaints, programming boss Tim Worner defended the decision, telling AAP:

“Seven News and Today Tonight viewers are there at 6pm each and every night of the year and we need to honour that commitment.”

Nine was also under fire from sports fans yesterday when it switched to the news from the one day international between Australia and Pakistan at a key moment.

As well as complaints to the broadcasters, they have also been aired on talkback radio and on the letters pages of today’s newspapers.

One of the difficulties faced by all of the free to air broadcasters is that although anti-siphoning legislation keeps key sporting events away from pay TV, it was written before the arrival of the new Freeview digital channels, and the networks are not currently allowed to switch their coverage away from their main channels  – a point which some of those complaining on Twitter last night were unaware of. The government is currently undertaking a review of the anti-siphoning rules, which pay TV has long criticised for favouring the free-to-air networks.

One Sydney Morning Herald reader asked today: “What is the point of all these new free-to-air stations if they are all showing the same program simultaneously?”

And from Twitter:

Nobody from Seven was available for comment at the time of posting.


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