I wonder how the AFL will proceed with the next broadcast rights agreement in this changing world of technology?
Fox Sports Now comes to Apple TV
Date May 7, 2015 - 1:26PM
Aussie footy fans have another tantalising taste of sport-on-demand as Fox Sports comes to the Apple TV, but there's a long road ahead.
Sport is the last great bastion of traditional television, one of the few things that will still force the Netflix generation to sit down and watch live broadcasts. Sports broadcast rights deals are worth a fortune, as they're the key to retaining potential cable cutters. As such, Australian broadcasters and the major sporting codes are treading carefully to ensure that the Internet doesn't kill the golden goose.
It's a different story in the United States, where the major football, baseball and ice hockey leagues are cutting out the middleman and going direct to the public with streaming services. We're only seeing the first tentative steps in Australia, with Fox Sports News this week becoming Australia's third Apple TV app after Cricket Australia and TenPlay.
Similar to the Cricket Australia app, you can't watch live sport on Fox Sports Now but there is some free content. You can watch Fox Sports News (Channel 500) streamed live, along with round previews, news clips and match highlights from the NRL, Super Rugby and A League.
To watch full match replays you need a $4.99 per week Fox Sports Now subscription which you can pay for using your iTunes account. It covers every match of the round, which are available to watch twelves hours after the match ends. The subscription also lets you watch replays of Fox Sport shows such AFL 360, NRL 360, EPL Review and Monday Night with Matty Johns.
Fox Sports Now builds on the existing Fox Sport News iPad app, which is also $4.99 per week for non-Foxtel subscribers but doesn't offer full match replays. You get full access to the Apple TV and iPad apps for free if you're a home Foxtel subscriber with the sports package, plus you can also watch the live Fox Sports News stream on the website. Surprisingly the iPad and Apple TV apps aren't covered by the same $4.99 standalone subscription, so you're expected to pay twice if you want to watch on both the Apple TV and iPad but don't have a home Foxtel subscription.
AFL is conspicuously absent from Foxtel Sports Now, which is an instant deal-breaker for many sports fans. Even if you follow the other codes, handing over $20 per month seems steep when you can't watch live matches. There's not even a discount if you buy a season pass, as you get from US services on the Apple TV such as NFL Game Pass and NBA League Pass.
If you're keen enough to pay for Fox Sports Now then you're probably prepared to jump in and pay $50 per month for real Foxtel with the sports package including live matches and a whole lot more.
Fox Sports Now might not seem like great value for money to some people, but it's certainly a big step down the road towards unbundled sport-on-demand. In some ways this concept is Foxtel's worst nightmare, but the pay TV giant has been surprisingly proactive in the last few years and perhaps it's looking to get the jump on Australian sporting codes – gaining a foothold in the online subscription market before the sporting leagues get big ideas about going it alone.
It will be interesting to see how the power struggle between Foxtel and the AFL plays out. We've already seen the AFL go direct with live matches via its iPhone/iPad app, but taking this to the next level would involve a major shift in broadcast rights deals.
Will Fox Sports Now win your money? How do you see streaming sport evolving in Australia over the next few years?
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/comp ... gw6km.html