Viewers into overdrive as Seven delays Bathurst

Angry motor racing fans hit out at the Seven Network’s coverage of Bathurst 1000 on Twitter yesterday, after advertising commitments saw the “Live” telecast pushed out by up to 20 minutes.

As Craig Lowndes was crossing the line in his Holden with co-driver Mark Skaife, viewers on Seven were still 10 laps behind the action.  The network’s coverage of Bathurst started out live, but the broadcaster paused and restarted the action to suit its ad breaks. Despite the race finishing at 4.53pm, they were still “racing” on television until 5.20pm.

“This 20 min delay in Bathurst telecast is a major fail for ch 7, this is why I don’t watch commercial TV any more,” race fan DDsD tweeted.

“Channel 7 are absolutely atrocious!!! Disgusted, V8Supercars please give the rights to someone who will broadcast Bathurst live, please,” said Riotness–99.

Seven defended the network’s decision.

“The closeness of the race, the reduced number of safety cars in today’s race, advertising commitments and our desire that viewers not miss a single moment of the race led us to time-shift our coverage,” Seven spokesman Simon Francis said.

“Our objective was viewers not miss a moment of action.”

He also addressed criticism that the event was not in HD.l

“(The) decision on HD was made by Seven and V8 Supercars Television based on available equipment and in-car cameras, cameras buried in the track and barriers and the like: a total of 168 cameras (not all cameras were HD),” Mr Francis said.

“Any chance you can sell the TV rights to someone else? Ch7 is pathetic,” BigAlRoss tweeted on the V8 Supercars page.

Source: Daily Telegraph, The Australian


  1. Secret Squïrrel

    @Donald – that’s exactly what I do if I am unhappy with a program. If the sponsors of such a travesty get hit in the hip pocket, hopefully they’ll either force a change or withdraw their support.

    @Marcus G – ABC News 24 is also HD (720) so that makes still 5 HD channels, just not 5 HD channels broadcasting what you want to watch. Where did you get 2020 from? The main channels can revert to HD after the analog switch-off which is scheduled for 2013.

  2. Marcus G – SBS1 is HD (not full HD, but HD nonetheless). It’s the last primary still in HD.

    David – exactly! They showed past Bathurst highlights the previous weekend on 73 (in 4:3 of course), then when it comes to this year’s “live” event it is only shown on 7!

    With no attempt to use HD cams, and then delaying the broadcast on top of that, I think I’ll take it out on the sponsors for the next year (go to Repco instead of Super Cheap, etc.), see if 7 get the message that way (preferably One get the rights next time they’re up).

  3. Networks have given up their HD channels to free up bandwidth to give us 7mate, Go etc. As a result, only 2 channels now broadcast in HD. One HD and Gem, which in January becomes Nines sports channel. We get 4:3 crap from the 80’s on all these channels that nobody is watching. All prime channels used for ratings are now all SD. The entire world is going HD and we are reverting back to SD, shame. No more HD until 2020 so I have heard. TV networks and the communcations minister have a lot to answer for.

  4. “the delay was necessary to avoid missing any race action.”

    what rubbish. i hope they realize when they bid for other sports rights. those sports won’t allow them to delay the live coverage

  5. I’m not a big racing fan but I know I’d be upset too if I saw one of the biggest sporting events in standard definition quality, while at the same time, 7mate which has high definition quality was broadcasting some old show from the 80s/70s in 4:3 ratio.

  6. billy ray valentine

    ive always maintained that one network should ignore the anti-siphoning list on one occasion (and put it on a multi-channel ahead of the main channel) and see what action happens… will the fed govt prosecute? and tie up the courts for a period? what is the penalty for breaking the law? close down a channel?

  7. gary, there are surprised people because Bathurst has a million more viewers than any other V8 race. i.e. once-a-year viewers. Some of these people would be used to the F1 coverage for example (which, except for Bathurst, considerably outrates the V8’s), which is live, amongst other things (imagine the uproar if the AFL GF had been delayed half-an-hour). If something is advertised as being live, then it should be exactly that. This now goes in the bucket along with Today Tonight ads – “what we are telling you about the show actually isn’t true, but we want to get you to watch, so this is what we’re saying in our ads…”.

  8. Why are people surprised at this. Virtually none of the races shown this year have been “live”. I’ll be looking at the live timing on the V8 site and it may show the race is at lap 50 but go and turn on the tv and they’re only up to lap 40.
    And they were bragging throughout the weekend that they had around 160 cameras catching all the action but when Will Davidson hit the wall there wasn’t mutch footage.
    If Tony (I know best) Cochrane wants to keep it on FTA then okay, but he should also make it available to be shown live on Pay tv.
    They should also remove Skaiffe’s name from the trophy as he didn’t do much, left all the hard work to Lowndes

  9. I’m now really suspicious about the fact they kept saying the race goes for 7 hours. My reaction is no, it only goes for 6.5 hours, maybe even 6, unless you have heaps of rain and/or safety cars – in the end it did run for 6.25 hours – so wondering if all this talk of “racing for 7 hours” was to draw people in for the whole 7 hours… aided by them dragging the coverage out to 6.75 hours (not to mention GP started on One after 6.25 hours of Bathurst).

    @Billy Ray Valentine – re your AFL example, you can blame the anti-syphoning laws for that. They can’t show anything on the list on One unless it’s (been) on Ten. If they delay it on Ten, they legally have no choice but to delay it on One as well. This is why it needs to be changed to a new multi-channel paradigm, so that One don’t have their hands tied. I expect they’d show it live in WA if they were allowed to in those circumstances.

  10. Armchair Analyst

    This is very embarrassing for the 7 network. Because up until now their V8 coverage was pretty good. This will set a precedent don’t you worry about that. The next time a broadcast rights to anything comes up in the future the competition administrators are going to make it legally binding so that this does not happen again. 7 did mislead the nation and V8 supercars australia (by saying it was live when in parts it was not) no doubt about that. The AFL will take note of this and so wiill the other broadcasters. On a overall issue about 7 Sport’s coverage of certain events it needs improvement can get better but will it that is debatable unless someone forces their hand and gets success by doing things differantly. You have to understand that the reason that 7 doesnt change their formula is because at least financially it works and has been for quite some time, and in this day and age of investors and big fat pay checks to cheif executive officers its not uncommon for the company to put money ahead of everything else, afterall our government does it. Again the only thing that can change a companies strategy in this case when covering sports events is they need to be shown up by someone else who then becomes successful at their own game ie ONE HD.

    I know that this is a story on the V8s but look out for the NBL on ONE HD on the 15 of October for all you Basketball fans this will be live no doubt about it.

  11. billy ray valentine

    Scotty – ONE is not live all the time in WA

    if for example a saturday night game of AFl was shown on ten and ONE, and ten had it delayed by 30 mins or 1 hour (which was often the case this year), ONE also showed in delayed…

  12. Typical Seven they don’t give a rats tossbag about the viewers this is how they’ve always been. If it’s not live then don’t advertise it as Live idiots! For live sport Seven really are the worst by far. Just look at the debacle that is their AFL coverage.

  13. I’m now also wondering if the delay build up over the 6 hours of racing was deliberate to cut into the F1 on ONE? I mean they couldn’t have paused the race every ad break or are they saying they only have 20 mins of ads over the race or they only paused some parts?

    Seriously did they think they would get away with this with people using twitter at the track to report action as it happened.

    Maybe they were counting on more safety car laps and a longer race for even more ads? But really how much more advertising do we need, the cars are covers, logos on screen for different camera’s, pop-up ads the list goes on!

    And ITA not all the cameras need to be full HD, and I’m sure at least some were HD as really who is making TV cameras that are not?

  14. Secret Squïrrel

    Mr Do-Bee and others, you are still missing the point of the complaints. No-one here is saying that Seven shouldn’t have ads during the coverage.

    I have no issue with Seven needing to meet its commercial obligations. But they shouldn’t advertise an event as “live” when it isn’t. That was a lie and ACMA should have something to say about it.

    They lied again when they said that the race had less breaks than expected and that they didn’t want viewers to miss any action. There were plenty of occasions when they returned from an ad break and recapped what had occurred while we were away. If you do the maths, you’ll see that at least 30 minutes of the actual race could not have been broadcast.

    Seven did it for one reason and that was to ensure that the broadcast of the race didn’t finish before the Japanese Grand Prix started on One.

  15. Here’s a tip people, don’t attack channel 7 they will just ignore you, their only focus is their bottom line. Attack the advertisers! Call, email, send letters to the advertisers shown during the telecast complaining that you will not support their products or business because of your anger at the lies of channel 7. They said it was live…it was not, simple as that!

    Tony Cochran from V8 Supercars gave a very poor explanation of channel 7’s behaviour during the season on a recent episode of V8 Extra, I’ll be interested in his “spin” explaining this one!

    Added to channel 7’s lies was the atrocious re-transmission by Prime to regional viewers. The synch was out with the sound, and not just a fraction…it was out enough to be very annoying. They constantly flicked between screen aspect ratios and the screen went to black on numerous occasions during the broadcast – no vision and no sound.

  16. if they want to have plenty of ads, ok do that. but they should have went straight back to the live action. it’s the olympics all over again and thankfully they have lost the rights to that now

  17. What a bunch of pathetic imbo’s Seven are. The decision to time shift the telecast would have been made days before and had nothing to do with lack of safety cars or exciting racingo r whatever else they want to claim.. It was done by Seven for Seven and no one else. I couldn’t care less if Seven have commercial breaks during the race, (as long as they are of reasonable lenghts) , but do a simple thing and show it Live. Am pretty sure when Ten had the rights they would take commercial breaks too….but when they came back from them they would say.”while you were away this happened” but it seems that even doing something as simple as that is way too hard for Seven.

    Seven treat the viewers as if we are dumb.. When Seven took the rights over from Ten, they ( 7) promised the world ….. BU they have delivered the local rubbis tip. Its not the first sport that Seven have done this too and it sure as heck wont be the last.. Watch out NRL, Seven will time shift you just as they do with the ARU test matches

    Oh and thanks to the forums for having a live race thread with results before the LIVE coverage showed it on Seven.

  18. this is typical of seven and their reasoning is it’s usual flimsy self. ok you can have ad breaks. but go back to the live coverage. 7 are a disgrace. if they get the nrl they will do the same thing, like they do with union tests. they do this all the time. go to an ad break and 5 minutes later they go back to where they left off, whill there has been try scored

  19. geez bindi for someone not keen on sport you have alot inform fans of. As for not being pleased, lets all remember the stories and posts with supernatural in the topic if never being pleased is to be metioned

  20. to those who don’t get it – if someone texted you the ending of a whodunnit movie while you were at the world premiere showing of same (thus expecting to be able to try to work it out for yourself before the end with no interruptions), half-an-hour before the end, would you not be upset? This wasn’t advetised as delayed coverage – was supposed to be live.

    @John Citizen – good point. 7 did invent race-cam, yet now they lag behind U.S. sport in same.

    @peter – spilt petrol is highly flammable! :-)

  21. It’s typical Seven. All they had to do was come back live after commercial breaks and replay anything significant. Nine do it easily with Friday Night Football to keep it live.

  22. i think there would be even more complaints if is was shown live but cut to bits. viewers seem to want it all but simply can’t have free-to-air, no ads, played in full and live in this situation.

    The thing that is wrong here is advertising it as live when they surely had some knowledge that it would happen.

  23. The numbers don’t add up.

    It was a 6 hour race. And lets say there’s 15min of ads per hour.

    6×15= 90min of ads in total.

    But the broadcast finished only 30min late.

    So in effect Ch7 did 30min of time-shifting And dropped 60min of ‘real time’ during the race for ad breaks.

  24. Perhaps all the whingers can chip in a few bucks so that Seven don’t have to run so many ads next year. There is no way Seven will cover the event at their own expense. It’s called commercial television. 20 minutes is no big deal. Studies have shown the ability to delay gratification is linked to intelligence.

  25. Three lame excuses.

    They didn’t want viewers to miss any minute of action? If something significant actually happened during the commercial, is this not what replay was invented for?

    I’d prefer 90% of the telecast in HD rather than nothing. In-car cameras should be HD, they are available. And I don’t think anyone would be bothered if the in-track cameras or any of the other unique-type one’s are not in HD.

    They should adopt “In-Race Commercials” such as ESPN and like use here in North America, even if it’s for half of the commercial blocks. A small window which keeps showing the telecast, while a bigger window on the screen shows the advertisement. Best of both worlds?!

    Hopefully Ten/One or Fox Sports pick up the rights next time around, only way to guarantee is live, HD & with less commercials.

  26. Another abject failure by commercial television networks to understand their market, and its demographic. The number one thing, i repeat, the number one thing, you Never do to a live broadcast is do a swifty on people loyal to that sport and have a clayton’s live broadcast…and hope no one notices. The irony for these TV types (which they don’t get) is that by delivering a true, live, professional broadcast, they will actually increase their audience over the longer term, with commensurate increases in revenue, whilst also strengthening their brand. Short term goals to ensure a requisite amounts of ads are placed to appease advertisers (and who says they’re happy about this?!?) is the dumbest thing they could have done. Unfortunately there’s a long track record of this happening on commercial TV.

  27. As a regular citizen of the city of Bathurst, I was certainly a bit confused when the monstrous roar of the V8’s emanating from the mountain ceased a half hour ahead of channel 7’s broadcast. Why advertise the broadcast as being live when it very obviously isn’t? I don’t mind the idea of it not being live, but why lie?

    As for the lack of safety cars, pfft. There were at least 4 or 5 that I saw that lasted several laps, what are they complaining about? Not enough people got injured in order for them to fulfill their advertising commitments?! How may were they planning on? Ha.

  28. To the last few comments – I don’t think anyone is saying there shouldn’t be ads, so well done for completely missing the point of the discussion.

    The issue is that it wasn’t Live. Seven should have kept it live during ads, replayed anything noteworthy during the ads after, and then straight back to live coverage.

  29. Seven doesn’t time-shift for the viewers it time-shafts the viewers to shift more money into its pockets. Simply… everyone is upset because Seven was not upfront with the viewers about it and did not give people the option to not answer phones, SMS, Twitter etc before they saw the race finish.

  30. Social media means sports really do have to be live. Cut away from the action for ads, and if anything particularly notable happens during the break, replay it after the break then cut back to live coverage.

  31. Didn’t Seven actually invent the in-car camera?

    Anyway, I’ve got to say that really, a 20 minute delay is pretty insignificant, particularly to the core demos that will be watching the broadcast.

    Free TV can’t be expected to be completely free.

  32. Delayed 20 minutes? So What! They have to slot in commercial breaks. To all the petrol heads out there…hey guess who pays for the coverage? The advertisers! That is why it is called ‘Free to Air TV”. You can watch a multi million dollar broadcast for nicks, zilch, nothin, Free! I’d rather watch a superbly produced telecast of the race that is delayed for 20 mins for free than pay 80 bucks a month for technically live telecast (that still has commercials). Come on, are we becoming a nation of whingers?? Get a Grip!

  33. @Bogesus

    When Nine covers live NRL games, you get about 5 ads during game-play and they’re all after tries. You never miss anything except maybe a conversion. When nine plays it delayed, e.g. Fri and Sunday they do the same as what Seven did yesterday with Bathurst. I dont see that many complaints on here about Nine’s coverage, people have just learned you cant go near a radio or the net if you don’t want to know the result.

  34. As someone who got up at 7am yesterday, watched Bathurst, F1 qualifying, 125cc race, F1 race, MotoGP race and spends a whole lot of my life watching motor sport – this was terrible at very least. My website was inundated with complaints about it, as visitors were wondering where certain highlights were, and all I could say is “what? when did this happen?” only to discover it hadn’t yet, on our “live” broadcast.

    Channel 7 advertise it as live, but then gradually keep slipping behind live. It’s annoying when mates in England are watching it live and we’re not, it’s annoying when clips are appearing on youtube before the event has even been shown in our ‘live’ broadcast *facepalm*. But, having said all this, it’s not the first time Seven have done this to Bathurst, I think this is number 3 or 4 now.

    The race was a rather dull Bathurst, so all that rubbish about ‘not wanting the viewers to miss the action’ is hard to believe, when there were 5 lap blocks of racing that could have easily been cut out during the ads. Either they didn’t have enough post-race to fill in the time, or they strategically wanted to cut into ONE’s coverage of F1 (which has been gaining more and more viewers).

    Finally, ‘lack of safety cars’? We watched one go around the track for at least 15 minutes during the last half an hour, so pull the other one Seven. Don’t you know viewers like me can sit in front of our computers, watch a live web stream, watch two TV channels at once (Seven / ONE) and sit on motor sport websites, and watch live timing too.

    Ah well, Seven have been screwing over V8 fans since they first got the rights and started making it all fit in around it’s existing schedules (AFL on Sundays, Horse Racing, etc), should be used to it,

  35. “The closeness of the race, the reduced number of safety cars in today’s race, advertising commitments and our desire that viewers not miss a single moment of the race led us to time-shift our coverage,”

    Please….! The decision to time shift would most certainly not have been made ‘on the day’ according to the race unfolding the way it did. It is not as simple as ‘hitting the pause button’ and would require an additional crew to facilitate.

    I watched it via PVR (and skipped said ads) so it didn’t matter to me, but when advertised as live it should be shown as such.

  36. I watched it all day, and got the result from Twitter 30min before the race ended on TV. They have to realise they can’t get away with things like this anymore.

    There seemed to be an awful lot of ads as well. Or maybe it’s just me not used to watching commercial TV. They seemed to come every 10mins. And it was the same block of ads played over and over and over and over…

  37. Unfortunately this is a no win situation for Seven. They have advertising commitments, and that is understandable. If they time shift the broadcast, then people complain that it is not live. If they cut away from coverage, then the complaint is they are missing the action. The third option is to put it on pay tv, and then complaints will be that most people won’t be able to see it.

    Personally, I would prefer to see it live (and miss things in the ad breaks) than time shift it out. That’s how Nine cover the live NRL games.

  38. Nothing ever makes them happy, if they left the footage for ads there would be complaints about ad placement as if channel 7 is supposed to have visions of the future to know where to place them. If they did picture in picture advertisers would want a discount and viewers would probably have a problem with it to. Just no pleasing sports fans.

  39. 20 minute delay, big deal. If you wanted it live, go to the event instead of watching it on TV. I’m a V8 fan and I’m glad that it’s on TV at all.

  40. I find it unbelievable that there was not ‘enough’ HD camera and that they were all taken by One HD for the commonwealth games. What, all the stations Hire the same cameras in Australia?!? If there was a perfect te to show the 1000 in HD, it would have made sense to show it at 7mate. It’s that why 7mate was created in the first place, the ‘blokes’ channel. I am sure V8 Supercar will be listening to this and how its clear now that fan will turn off, especially all the overseas broadcasters such as Speed Asia and Speed US were showing it Live. Now, that is no excuse…

  41. I’ve seen many US gold broadcasts where the main cameras are HD and roaming cameras are not. That sort of thing is done all the time.

    Seven went for the cheap option, it would seem.

  42. I didn’t know and probably wouldn’t have cared but this is just wrong!

    Don’t they (Seven) know the viewers come first not the advertisers, if people stop watching it doesn’t matter how many advertising commitments they have.

    As for the HD thing all cameras don’t have to be in HD, I just hope they upgrade them for the next event, people expect 1080 HD in 2010,

    I hope when the rights come up it goes back to TEN, at least they can show it in HD on ONE.

  43. Yeah I got extent message from someone in one of the teams just before 5pm with the result which kinda rook away the tension of the last 10 laps. I’m used to getting premature results to qualifying and race results during the season but not on the big day at Bathurst. Seven and V8 Supercars will continue to do it while it helps in maximising return on their broadcast coverage.

  44. “not all cameras were HD” – well, one wouldn’t expect the stick-cams, etc. to be HD, but how often are those shots used? Less than 1% of the time. I’m not a NAScar fan, but I found myself missing NAScar while watching the grainy shots yesterday, especially when it comes to in-car cameras, which is the most spectacular in NAScar. There’s no excuse for not using HD cameras track-side and in-car, of course the mini cams aren’t going to be HD…

    “our desire that viewers not miss a single moment of the race” – well leave out the parts that aren’t racing then! For example, all the technical waffle can be left out. People are either mechanically-minded and already know what they’re talking about, or they’re not and don’t… and if they don’t know it’s probably because they don’t care!

    Let’s hope Bathurst comes to One one day.

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