November 10, 2004


Good to see Labor paying attention to the big issues:

Prime Minister John Howard should fight to ensure next year's Ashes Test series was shown on the ABC or SBS, Labor said today.

Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy said it was a tragedy the Nine and Seven networks were considering not screening the Ashes from England in July.

Instead, cricket fans will only be able to see the series if they subscribe to pay TV providers Foxtel or Austar.

So subscribe already. Problem solved.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 10, 2004 12:48 PM

Not so, Tim,

the same happened with the English Premiere League (soccer for the uninitiated) highlights on SBS; Foxtel grabbed the rights; SBS and its overlords didn't raise the money, didn't consider it of any importance.

Looks like the elite decided what's important and what's not for the great unwashed. I object, and not that SBS is free-to-air, it's coming out of your and my tax.

Should I subscribe to cable, with its 30 channels of pig swill, for one hour of TV a week?

Posted by: Oh No at November 10, 2004 at 01:19 PM

Is he saying its the publics' right for the taxpayer to pay for his sport?

Posted by: rog at November 10, 2004 at 01:21 PM

Shows how out of touch they really are. Every serious cricket fan and rugby fan and NFL fan and basketball fan and rugby league fan and AFL fan has satellite TV. Conroy wouldn't know an aspirational ex-labor voter if he fell over one.

Posted by: theories at November 10, 2004 at 01:21 PM

"Should I subscribe to cable, with its 30 channels of pig swill, for one hour of TV a week?"

Well, that's what I do. Where else am I to get my ration of pig swill?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 10, 2004 at 01:39 PM

SBS would be too busy showing horrendously biased French docos on the nasty/corrupt/religious Bush regime anyway. It's either that or movies with Japanese lesbian schoolgirls...

To clarify, I'm not complaining about the latter.

Posted by: Art Vandelay at November 10, 2004 at 01:40 PM

I knew that SBS was the station of chice for those interested in cunning linguistics.

Posted by: Greg at November 10, 2004 at 01:46 PM

Damn. Thats what the preview button is for. Choice not chice.

Posted by: Greg at November 10, 2004 at 01:47 PM

Chice sounds nice.

Conroy also wants it to be on Channel 31. That'll cover Fitzroy and (I suppose) Surry Hills. As long as you don't mind watching cricket played in snow.

Posted by: Tony.T at November 10, 2004 at 01:50 PM

There are far more important issues. For instance, currently Australians need to subscribe to Foxtel's Comedy Channel in order to see the Naked News. I demand that the Prime Minister personally intervene to ensure that this important program is available for all to watch on free-to-air.

Posted by: Jorge at November 10, 2004 at 02:02 PM

Agreed Jorge. Likewise Mad TV, the Man Show and Benny Hill reruns.

Posted by: slatts at November 10, 2004 at 02:08 PM

And bring back The Professionals...

Posted by: Stan at November 10, 2004 at 02:12 PM

Couldn't the ALP organise an all-star local match for free-to-air: Biff's Bashers vs the Sydney Cabbies. Could run for days and fill up lots of boring Christmas air time.

Posted by: mr magoo at November 10, 2004 at 02:22 PM

Did Conroy recommend that cricket tragics turn up on Howard's doorstep at Kirribilli House and watch it their on the big plasma screen? I heard he did.If so it shows the extent of Labor party problem solving skills,which is always envy driven.

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 10, 2004 at 02:34 PM

I am generally against government regulation, but if you are going to do it - do it properly. The law for these 'culturally significant' sports should be as follows:

Free to air gets first dibs. Cable second.

If the owner of the rights is not going to telecast it live (you should see how us Sandgropers get treated!) then you have to pass the live feed to another station - it can be on sold, but if no one will bid then it goes out free. I can't remember what cricket series it was recently but Channel 31 had the Ashes or something - only time I've watched that station.

This bullshit of supposedly protected sports rights getting bought and then telecast on delay shits me no end.

Posted by: Razor at November 10, 2004 at 03:19 PM

And take Prisoner OFF UK TV.

Posted by: Tony.T at November 10, 2004 at 03:28 PM

Should I subscribe to cable, with its 30 channels of pig swill

Since he's not a subscriber I wonder why he thinks it's all pig swill. Maybe his teacher told him so or he read it in the newspaper and therefore, he thinks, it must be true.

We used to watch only videos (having got sick to death of TV) but after about six years we'd reached the point where there was nothing left to hire worth watching that we hadn't seen before. So we got cable. It costs less than we used to spend on video hire and the swill quotient is, I think, considerably less than on free to air TV. Also you get to see places, peoples and cultures from all over the world without needing big chunks of money, vaccinations, bodyguards, insect repellant, malaria prophylaxis, scuba lessons, high altitude gear, lomotil, blah, blah, and, I might add, without needing a passport.

Posted by: Janice at November 10, 2004 at 06:05 PM

Hi Janice,

you're partially right, I'm exaggerating; but I used to have cable and my in-laws have cable, so I can make some half-qualified comment.
I wish I could pick and choose and have only the channels of my choice; but it doesn't work that way, one's supposed to sign up to plans, and good channels (comedy, world movies etc.) have to be combined with the bad, like the music channels (and they are all shit; and the country music channel is utter shit).

I wouldn't call that decent consumer service.

Posted by: Oh No at November 10, 2004 at 08:24 PM

I am not the least bit nostalgic for the ABC's three-camera cricket coverage, with half the overs hidden from view by the batsman's fat arse. But what exactly has cable ever done for us? As an ex-cable subscriber, I know perfectly well what the quality of the programs is like. The expansion in the availability of programming hasn't led to any increase in the availability of programs worth watching. Before cable, all the best sport was already available on free-to-air. Then there was satellite in the rare event that the free-to-air sport didn't appeal, which you could usually catch on at the pub. The available programming budget was spread over just a few free-to-air channels. Now we're expected to pay for sport that was once available free, for the dubious added benefit of getting the leftover's from TV's dustbins of history. Thanks to Richard Alston, the cable providers are trying to recover the costs of duplicating the cable networks, so there's no money available for developing anything decent, and the money is spread more thinly thanks to a divided market. I'm sorry if it violates free market dogma, but this just sucks arse.

Posted by: Clem Snide at November 10, 2004 at 09:42 PM

I pay for 35 a month in the UK for Sky just to watch Oz cricket. I'm not complaining. I get to see more of Australia play than you get to see in Australia with free-to-air, and I get a ton of good stuff to watch in addition (inc. a two-hour Oz Rules package - but then Sky UK is heaps better than the cable in Oz, which when I was last there looped after about 3 months.)

Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny at November 10, 2004 at 11:37 PM

It will be a cold day in hell before I give a single dollar to that gouging and usurous organization that allegedly delivers "cable".

Why the hell should I have to buy all their crappy unwatchable shit for a minimum of 12 months, then pay an additional charge so I can watch about 20 days of cricket and have to listen to that dickhead Dean Jones as well?

In the true spirit of of JWH's picket fence Australia, I will content myself with listening to the cricket on the wireless.

Just to prove I am not a complete Luddite, I will also monitor the live updates on the Web via Cricinfo.

Bugger Foxtel.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at November 11, 2004 at 01:44 AM

art vandeley wrote:
SBS would be too busy showing horrendously biased French docos on the nasty/corrupt/religious Bush regime anyway. It's either that or movies with Japanese lesbian schoolgirls

and dont foeget those adolf hitler/nazi germany docos.

Posted by: vinnyboombutts at November 11, 2004 at 05:48 AM

Slatts Channel 9 has been playing Mad TV at 1 or 2am a couple of times a week

Posted by: max power at November 11, 2004 at 06:20 AM

Pedro: You don't have to pay any extra to get the cricket. It's on Fox Sports, which is part of the basic package.

Posted by: yobbo at November 11, 2004 at 06:57 AM

All these people grizzling about having to pay. Are you all too young to remember that once upon a time you had to pay for a licence to watch TV in your own home?

Yup. They used to have inspectors who might call on you some evening when the blue glow was flickering through the living room window and ask to see said licence. Can't remember what the penalties were for not having one.

Which reminds me: another great thing about cable is not having to watch 15 minutes of ads for every half hour or less of content. So you are paying to watch free to air TV. It's just that you pay with your time.

Posted by: Janice at November 11, 2004 at 08:50 AM

Oh No said:
" ( and the country music channel is utter shit)"

Why, why, why? (Delilah) Man, you had me onside until you got to that comment!


Posted by: BruceT at November 11, 2004 at 11:36 AM

It was discussed on the radio the other day-apparently when the series is being played in the UK the Cricket board there dictate who and what gets to show the matches and they prefer to have an ongoing 'profesional arrangement' and usually that is a Cable TV- When the series played in Australia our cricket board get to select how it will be screened.

Posted by: Rose at November 11, 2004 at 01:44 PM

I pay and I see and for the most part, it is good.

However, what must be done and done by government intervention, if necessary, is the removal of Dean Jones and Michael Slater from commentary boxes the world over.

The "I remember facing Joel Garner/Curtly Ambrose and man, I gotta tell ya..." shit soured Australia's triumphant tour of India.

Drag Slater & Jones from their respective abodes and into the covered lorries at once. And let us never speak of them again.

We probably should have a crack at Slater and Gordon too but that's a discussion for another time.

Posted by: Peter Hoysted at November 11, 2004 at 03:29 PM

If we must have Pay TV, why can't we just pay for what we want to see rather than 30 channels of SH@T (home shopping, weather, etc, etc)?

I only need 4 or 5 of them, therefore, why can't I pay $8 a month? I wouldn't have a problem with signing up for 12 months in that case.....

I do object to multiple channels of multi re-runs and "straight-to-video" classics! I gather that the movie channel is part of the "Premium" package.

Bring on the Pirate Foxtel Chips......

Posted by: Fat_Pat at November 11, 2004 at 05:25 PM