TEN abandons AFL in HD

We’re going backwards not forwards….

On the weekend TEN screened its AFL coverage in standard definition on TEN and pulled a big audience of 804,000 viewers for a Sydney vs Collingwood game.

In primary channel shares, TEN was first on Saturday night.

A week earlier AFL was offered in both SD on TEN and HD on ONE but it has now dropped its high definition broadcasts of the code, instead offering live coverage of a MotoGP race on ONE. That pulled all of 149,000 viewers.

TEN has sought to talk up the switch.

“This offers viewers a wider range of viewing choices, rather than running the same programming across two channels,” said TEN’s Jeannette McLoughlin told The Australian.

While Seven has declined to offer AFL in HD, until now TEN has come to the party.

The move follows TEN walking away from AFL coverage after this season, and ONE shifting some of its content to general entertainment.

The lack of HD sport continues to frustrate viewers at a time when industry and government continue to talk up the numbers that have made the switch to digital television. 

Nine no longer offers State of Origin, NRL or cricket in high definition on GEM, despite promising HD sports last year. While viewers were grateful that Seven introduced live Wimbledon in an earlier timeslot via 7TWO, it could have offered the games in HD via 7mate.

Next year Seven will screen some AFL on 7mate but at its broadcast deal press conference CEO David Leckie said that he did not know whether Seven would broadcast in HD -or even if it would be “upscaled.”

Meanwhile, Premier Media Group’s FOX Sports will show all five of its games in HD next year.

Industry expects the issue to remain unresolved until the switch to digital television is completed at the end of 2013.

65 Comments:

  1. @steve: I was only referring with regards to Network Ten’s AFL coverage, which started in 2002 and AFAIK was available in HD from that point though I may be corrected on that.

  2. This is so annoying, personally, I think One HD had the best picture and sound quality. This is the reason I watched Saturday games specifically on One no matter who was playing. Now they’ve changed it, I hope they put it back on One HD, please Channel Ten?

  3. Short Changed

    Now that One HD and others seem to have walked away from HD broadcasts I wonder what justification Foxtel can have to keep those channels listed under the HD grouping whereby they charge you more per month to view them. Its a bit like a carbon tax paying for something you cant see and that its not all what is made out to be.

  4. Very interesting comments here.

    JJ – So clearly for a HD Broadcast truck it would cost more than a SD truck and therefore it costs more to produce a HD broadcast.

    And as we have discovered showing the same program on a SD channel and HD channel (one and ten or Nine and GEM) is reducing the possible overall audience and Advertising Revenue – SO at the end of the day the Broadcasting Rules are to blame and until analogue is switched off we will see nothing worthwhile broadcast in HD – so the networks can get a peek audience over all their channels

    Such a shame – Sport, Movies, Docos, would all be fantastic in HD….I look forward to it one day….the way it is suppose to be.

    Maybe TEN HD should make a comeback!!!

  5. Note to the sports industry, you may be f***ing willing to wait till 2013, but I’m not! As for you TEN network, you have already broken your promise to the AFL fans wanting more HD sport. I hope Andrew Demetriou burns you alive for that betrayal to the fans!!!

    Also, f*** the so called ‘Digital Ready’ plan. Whoever made it up didn’t take into account HD sports fans. We need to take action now and we don’t have time to wait for more HD sports till 2013! One of my ideas, we need more HD ready sats launched asap!

  6. I see their argument being able to show different programs at the same time to cater to different audiences. It is useful for those that are not interested in the match being broadcast on 10, it’s not quite so useful when the alternate program is of no appeal to some people.

    Just think it is silly for them to do it mid season, when 7 finished with a whimper in 2001….. they did it with grace and dignity.

  7. It’s not like Ten dumped the Sat. night AFL game from One HD for a re-run of Airline or Bondi Rescue, they actually did do it due to a clash with another sporting commitment. It was probably their only way around it given that AFL has to air on at least the analogue/SD channel.

    If they do end up abandoning AFL on One HD just for the sake of it or because they know they’re walking away from AFL in 2012 then that is indeed a very poor effort after almost ten years of their HD coverage of the game.

  8. rickard lomez

    ONE is a dead duck, now that AFL HD is gone iif it wasn’t for “An idiot abroad” I there is nothing else on this channel.

    Oh Thank you for Fox Sports HD, the footy on there is sensational.

    Maybe all the channels think that HD is too expensive, what chance seeing anything on 3D, another con???

  9. Makes sense that TEN want to milk the AFL for all it’s worth since they’ll have nothing to do with it soon.

    What’s the point in having multi channels if the same thing is shown over 2 of them? Then there’s a point of regular programming on digital channels being disrupted in preference of sport which will have other people complaining. It’s an issue which won’t be solved anytime soon.

  10. @Kev, then you must have pretty dodgy eyesight because that’s just ridiculous. “no” difference, what a joke…. unless you’re talking about the difference between SD and upscaled SD, which is takes up 99% of programming on the HD channels, in which case, yes, there is practically no difference. But between SD and true HD, the difference is huge (this coming from someone that watches it on 32, 40 and 52 inch screens).

  11. Adam Nelson

    I compained on twitter about this. It was stupid idea to be simcasting broadcast AFL onto both channels and show other sports on a delay because of a conflicting schedule

    It was getting particularly frustrating because sometimes the live streaming of one hd motorsport would fail and you’d have to watch the digital tv broadcast instead. But couldn’t because AFL was playing

  12. @JJ Ok… I stand corrected.

    I was told by someone on the coverage at 7 that the actual games themselves were produced in HD but down converted for broadcast.

  13. @goatsbreath – The networks moved the other channels to HD because they’re obliged to broadcast their main channel in SD until at least the switch-off of the analogue network. I think…. I do believe that a lot of imported programming arrives at the networks in HD and then they downconvert it for broadcast on their main channels, so I don’t think there would have been any shortage of HD programming. Hopefully when the digital switchover is completed, there’ll be a rethink how networks broadcast each of their channels!

  14. Secret Squïrrel

    As irksome as not having AFL in HD might be, I think Ten made the right decision. it doesn’t make sense to cannibalise your audience.

    Personally, I think that the govt shouldn’t be so weak-kneed, and allow networks to broadcast whichever channel they like in HD. I’m not sure what’s so sacred about the main channels anyway. If people only have a SD STB, they can still watch the analogue broadcast. Then the networks could broadcast their best stuff and have it look the best.

  15. The only reason AFL is not in HD (just on ONE or 7MATE) is the current rules don’t allow it, AFL must be shown on the main (and analogue) channels first or at the same time. I’m sure there would be just as many complaints if the ALF was on ONE and the MotoGP was on TEN last Saturday night.

    Currently there is not enough bandwidth for them to simulcast every channel in HD and even when analogue it switched off I’m not sure there will be enough then.

    There is no way on earth FTA will have it’s channels broadcast on PayTV in HD, again those without it would miss out so what’s the point for the 70% without PayTV?

    Like others have said people complained (including me) that TEN was wasting a channel by showing AFL on ONE at the same time, usually pushing the F1 qualifying back later in the night but now they have split them and provided more choice they still can’t win.

    And yes while my TV is not full HD you can still see the difference between a HD signal and SD, it’s not like the new TVs will break your bank. My parents recently got a 40 inch LCD for less than $600, full HD with all the new features including USB record! For most there is no longer a reason to hang on to that old CRT box with a STB sitting on top, go digital today!

  16. A little of topic I admit, but what is the minimum screen size needed to see a significant difference between SD & HD? I currently have a 32″ set and at normal viewing distance can see no difference.

    Not all of us can afford or have the living space for a set-up like Jobby Wobby’s (June 27, 2011 at 11:24 am) to take advantage of HD.

  17. @Todd: To some people yes, I was responding to those that were saying that they do Not see any difference.
    To those, a bigger screen may help them see the difference.

  18. Why would TEN continue to allocate ONE resources and publicity to a commodity it won’t be showing next year?!?

    I bemoan the lack of HD content like everyone else however this is a smart business decision. The former simulcast AFL programming can now be assigned to promoting content which will pay off for it next year.

  19. People were berating ten last week for showing motogp delayed because of afl, and now they are compaining because afl isn’t in hd. Networks can’t win.

    I think ten did the right thing by shaping afl on ten and motogp love on one.

  20. @JobbyWobby, the difference between SD and HD is as obvious as the difference between night and day, even on a 32 inch TV. You don’t need a 50+ inch set to see the massive difference!

  21. @Phillo – Not sure where you pull your information from.

    I work for Gearhouse Broadcast, the broadcast provider for Channel 7 AFL matches, and the AFL is Not, I repeat, is not produced in HD. The AFL broadcasts on Channel 7 are produced at the venue in SD. The pre-game and half-time packages are also produced at the venue in SD.

    Gearhouse do provide a HD truck that is capable of producing broadcasts in HD, but this does not occur. The only period Channel 7 have produced HD content at the venue with Gearhouse Broadcast was during the Finals series’ of 2009 & 2010 (including the 2010 AFL Grand Final, but not the Grand Final replay, as there were no HD trucks available that weekend).

  22. Well I for one was pleased to see the motogp on Saturday night live, during the ads.

    David, do you really think people tune in to a sport because it is in HD? or that people will refuse to watch a sport because it’s not in hd? The figures for the footy seem to suggest otherwise….

  23. To all those who say they do Not notice a difference between SD and HD.

    Watch it on a Large screen or 1080 projector with proper surround sound.
    Not those small 50″ or less TVs or crappy $1000 surround setups.

    When you watch on a good system with with good sound, you Will see a big difference.

    Although I do not watch a lot of sport, when I watch it on my 90+” 1080P projector and screen with my 5.1 system, it is gooodddd.

  24. I’m surprised Ten simulcast the AFL for as long as they did on One and Ten. Seven and Nine dropped the idea within days of saying they would when they suddenly realised that they were splitting one audience between two channels. How can that be a good business decision, as I assume they would also be splitting the same advertisers? AFL on Ten and something else on One gives extra viewers across both channels and, of course, extra advertisers.
    Buying the rights to sports is expensive, and the networks are going to telecast on a channel where they can make their most revenue. At the moment, HD channels are considered secondary digital channels by advertisers, and have even less uptake than the SD digital channels, so it is debatable whether networks could make enough revenue to telecast the expensive sports that are not on the anti-siphoning list solely on their HD channels, let alone the hugely expensive AFL.
    You may see more high profile sports in HD…when…analogue is switched off and we only have digital channels, and the government allows all sports to be played solely on any channel and advertisers are happy to pay the same rate on a HD channel as they do on a main channel.

  25. If there’s one sport the needs HD, it’s Australian football. The audio for the footy on all networks is bloody atrocious too, the crowd is so muffled all you can hear are the stupid commentators. Seven is the worst. I don’t know how I will cope next year when they have every game.

  26. @ Mitrebin – I agree that HD simulcasts (on pay-TV) should include a HD logo when the programming is HD! I have been going off at the entertainment channels for not doing so and all they can say is they are too cheap to create a second feed and instead just use the same feed for both channels (even though there is a time lag). The only channels to do so are PMG channels (Fox Sports 1, 2, 3, and SPEED) which I applaud them for! Foxtel are making over $1bn a year and yet they can’t afford to make LifeStyle HD, FOX8 HD and W HD a seperate feed. And on that note, they make LifeStyle a HD simulcast when it has ZERO HD programming which is stupid when it could be used on Arena, Comedy, History, CI, or another network altogether (TV1, 13th Street, Universal, E!, Fashion, MTV or Sci Fi).

  27. I don’t care anymore about this HD business. FTA TV will not be the same again… or actually like anywhere else in the world…. in HD. So at least people aren’t complaining about AFL being delayed or the MotoGP being delayed. The more shows shown the better. Now get rid of football all together on TEN and keep it on ONE….

  28. @DansDans – What I am saying is that 7 actually produce their coverage in HD… but only screen it in SD.

    As a result, all of 7’s coverage is currently Downscaled.

    So… therefore Leckie’s comment on whether the broadcast could be upscaled is a stupid one.

    So DansDans… read what I am saying before you make the assumption that I am an idiot.

  29. I undestand that FTA has no more bandwidth for more HD channels, so why don’t the commercial channels talk with Foxtel about launching HD similcasts on their platforms so that more people are lured to them. Its a win-win.
    More people on Foxtel and more people watching HD TV sports.

  30. “Leckie said that he did not know whether Seven would broadcast in HD -or even if it would be “upscaled.””

    Leckie is an idiot.

    All AFL is currently produced in HD. Its the networks that actually Downscale it to appear on their SD channel.

    The only content produced in SD by 7 is the pre game and half game packages.

    When will the networks learn that half of the people in australia actually purchased a HD TV to watch sport???

    This type of attitude by network execs are the reason I watch less and less FTA TV!

  31. Isn’t it funny how Ten has discovered its desire to offer “a wider range of viewing choices, rather than running the same programming across two channels” approximately 2 seconds after it became clear that its run with the AFL was coming to an end?

    David, any chance of getting comment from Ten on whether finals and the Grand Final might be squeezed out in HD?

  32. HD is a joke in this country. Whatever happened to the minimum number of hours of ‘native’ HD that the networks were meant to screen?

  33. bettestreep2008

    I noticed this on Saturday.

    Ten had an excellent opportunity to score a massive 1m+ on both it’s HD and SD channels but decided to scrap it’s HD coverage of AFL games a day or so after the announcement that Murdoch pulled the plug on televising games in 2012 and beyond.

    First thing I thought it was a massive dummy spit and they decided to give viewers an almighty two finger salute.

    Seven doesn’t broadcast it’s games on HD. They leave HD for more important shows like 1970s sitcoms Are you being served!

    The AFL Should have ensured that whichever freeview station won the rights – they had to telecast games on HD.

    But the $2m man Demetriou has never cared for viewers and has been all about the kaching kaching.

    2012 shall be interesting. Seven has already announced it won’t be luring many Ten commentators over and is looking at having non-sports people hosting and commentating on AFL games.

    So get ready for Manu Fedel, Grant Denyer and Kochie commentating on AFL games and a new version of Before the Game with panelists Johanna Griggs, Melissa Doyle, Chris Bath, Daniel McPherson and Todd McKenney!

    2012 – the year AFL telecasts will become a bigger joke than it already is!

  34. Does anyone care about HD? I think it makes no difference either on an upconverted SD television or a brand new LED tv and I simply cannot tell the difference.

  35. sounds like 10 has spat the dummy re the afl coverage, as it is not going to broadcast it in 2012, they probably thought why bother giving it’s viewers the very best (i.e HD on ONE) now.

  36. Australia is definitely moving backwards when it comes to HD sport on free to air, Foxtel/Austar are the only ones taking HD sport seriously in this country at the moment.

  37. I think that every channel should have a simulcast HD channel, that way every channel could be in HD, similar to what Foxtel does with some of its channels.

  38. Ignore my ignorance but why can they only do HD telecasts on One, 7Two and Gem? Why cant they do on eg. TEN? And for what ever reason why don’t they put all channels on HD workable programs?

  39. It fascinates me that the channels film the sports in HD but just dont broadcast them. The State of Origin is in HD when it is rebroadcast on foxtel.

  40. Neon Kitten

    I don’t understand why everyone whinges about something as superfluous as sport missing out on HD broadcasts, when a vast amount of multi-million-dollar quality drama has been relegated to SD for years now.

  41. Its rediculous how the FTA networks would rather offer different programs on their chanels instead of offering sports in HD. The sooner the government allow for the primary channels to be HD the better as it is beyond a joke (especially with GEM being HD and offering movies in black and white). Thank god that nearly all the pay-TV sports channels are offered in HD (with the only ones not offered in HD being Eurosport, Fuel TV, Sky Racing channels and the sports news channels). On a side note, look at LifeStyle how they launched a HD simulcast and yet they offer ZERO HD programming when it could be used for Fuel TV or Eurosport or an entertainment channel that actually has HD programming.

  42. I don’t care much about AFL but watched it when in HD as it looks great, and it’s easier to become immersed in the game. So that’s one viewer lost.

    I don’t think Mr Leckie can be much of a techie, because if it is shown on the HD channel it has to be either upscaled or native HD.

  43. Never mind HD Sport! HD TV in Australia is a bloody disgrace, and the ACMA has/is doing absolutely nothing to ensure HD is provided on the main channels after all the commercial channels and the ABC “migrated their HD to “back” channels!!
    I can’t remember the last time I watched a full programme on Gem, 7Mate, One or ABC News24, only occasionally flicking through them. The USA and UK have embraced HD and anyone “naughty” enough to have seen a show from “other” sources will see that all popular shows have an HD watermark in one corner (BBC One HD, ITV 1HD, USA HD etc.
    Will the status be resumed once the Digital conversion is complete?
    The silence of the elepahant is deafening!!!!!!!

  44. Sorry to say – who cares – i am not a sports fan so why would i bother with wanting to see sports in HD
    Leave the HD for entertainment not for boredom (sorry just my opinion)

  45. Goatsbreath

    I would be curious to know what percentage of aired material is in HD? It would be a very low number. I assume all the commercial channels changed their HD channel to a secondary channel (Mate/Gem/One) so they didn’t have to come up with all the HD content that is expected of them? Instead, let’s just play re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie or Pimp My Ride on the HD channel. Television in Australia is a joke…

  46. Well done 10, using some common sense, it gives vierwers wider choice. both motogp and AFL fans will be catered for. why would you broadcast the same thing across two channels? pretty silly and a waste. there is nothing special about HD anyway, who cares about this overhyped HD, can’t really tell the difference and doesn’t make the viewing experience anymore aesthetic. ONE have exclusive rights to the motoGP so should at least show it live. And please, whatever negotiation is required regarding bandwidth rights, please Foxtel, get onehd and 7mate and gem and abcnews 24 running on foxtel (satellite)

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