Streaming platforms may be restricted from broadcasting some live sports, pending review – ABC News

Streaming platforms may be restricted from broadcasting some live sports, pending review 
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Digital streaming services may have access to certain live sports restricted to ensure Australians can continue to watch major events on free-to-air television.
The change is being considered amid a review of the government's anti-siphoning scheme, which stops subscription services such as Foxtel from acquiring media rights to certain sports unless a free-to-air broadcaster has already acquired them.
At the moment, the scheme does not stop streaming services such as Kayo, Optus Sports or Amazon Prime from acquiring exclusive rights to the same, high-profile sporting events. 
The federal government is seeking industry feedback on how the anti-siphoning scheme could be improved, given rapid changes around digital media and how people watch live sport.
"Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they earn," Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said. 
"Subscription-based services make a valuable contribution to Australia's media market and consumer choice, but not everyone can afford to pay for sport." 
The current anti-siphoning list includes the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, AFL, rugby league, rugby union, soccer, tennis, netball, motor sports, horse racing and cricket.
This review will also consider whether the list of sports should also be changed or expanded. 
A consultation paper released by the government on Monday warns there is a "risk that new players in the sports distribution market will obtain exclusive media rights to events on the anti-siphoning list".
The paper notes that most online sports coverage has generally been "complementary" to traditional television broadcasting in Australia. 
However, it also warns that media consumption patterns are changing quickly and that live sport on streaming services is increasingly common overseas. 
In Germany, streaming services accounted for one quarter of the overall spend on sports TV rights. 
And, in Italy, the share is expected to reach 53 per cent this year. 
"The impact of online coverage of sporting events — in terms of interest and participation in sport — is difficult to ascertain, given the relative recency of the trend and the lack of publicly available research and data," the report said.
"However, this is expected to evolve over the coming years as sporting codes look to capitalise on the opportunities presented by online streaming services."
The government has issued a stern warning to the AFL and those pursuing the rights to broadcast matches, but the next TV deal is only the start of a tense era in Australian sport.
Consultation on changes to the scheme will be open until December 6.
"The televising of key sports competitions helps to create shared experiences, foster a collective Australian identity and contributes to grassroots community-based sports participation," Ms Rowland said. 
"This consultation is an opportunity for Australians, industry, sports clubs, and other interested groups to have their say about the future of sport on TV in Australia."
The free broadcast of major sporting events has seen a significant increase in the uptake of a sport at a grassroots level. 
According to the consultation paper, Tennis Australia reported a 343 per cent increase in the sport after the Australian Open was broadcast this year. 
Free broadcasting of the AFLW has also been credited with increasing participation figures from 194,966 in 2014, to more than 600,000 last year. 
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