Non-Grand Final HD Broadcasts Didn't Set Australia On Fire

In our guide to watching this year's grand final broadcasts, we noted that there were no live HD broadcasts taking place, with both Nine and Ten electing not to simulcast on their existing HD channels. But just how many people were watching the programming which did show up on those channels instead?

Picture from Wikipedia

TV Tonight looked into the ratings, and found that while 2.6 million were watching the AFL Grand Final, just 32,00 were watching the MotoGP. The same held true on Sunday: 2.02 million watched the NRL, while 45,000 watched Funny Girl.

Obviously, the lack of an HD broadcast didn't stop people tuning in, but the sooner the networks look to proper simulcasting, the happier I suspect sports fans will be.

No HD for Grand Finals, so how did ONE and GEM rate? [TV Tonight]


Comments

    But had they done simulcasting, they might have lost the extra 32k and 4k altogether?

    Those who wanted to watch the finals in HD would have settled for SD but those who wanted to watch the MotoGP and Funny Girl would not have "settled" for watching the finals.

      "Those who wanted to watch the finals in HD would have settled for SD"

      Sort of...I was flicking the AFL final on and off (between a blu-ray), if it had of been in HD I would have stuck with just the AFL all the way through. So no, I didn't settle for SD.

    Can we just make it illegal to own an SD tv instead? I know this comment will remind you of when rednecks say "lets nuke iraq" but seriously, I bought a $60 tv tuner card for my computer 4 years ago and it's HD, every single tv and set top box in the shops now is HD and failing that if for some reason you still can't afford or manage to buy one you can get a T-box for $10 a month from Telstra with twin HD tuners anyway. I just don't know why the majority of people are suffering because they put the HD programming on the SD channel and the SD programming on the HD channel (which still blows my mind every time I look at the TV guide) for fear of offending the few people that might miss out. Why are people being rewarded for not upgrading their tech?

      Can we just make it illegal to own an SD tv instead? I know this comment will remind you of when rednecks say “lets nuke iraq” but seriously, I bought a $60 tv tuner card for my computer 4 years ago and it’s HD, every single tv and set top box in the shops now is HD and failing that if for some reason you still can’t afford or manage to buy one you can get a T-box for $10 a month from Telstra with twin HD tuners anyway. I just don’t know why the majority of people are suffering because they put the HD programming on the SD channel and the SD programming on the HD channel (which still blows my mind every time I look at the TV guide) for fear of offending the few people that might miss out. Why are people being rewarded for not upgrading their tech?

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      Steve
      October 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM
      Might be worth looking into how many people are watching the RWC on Fox HD, compared to on Channel 9. Games are broadcast simultaneously (i think). I know i have watched all the RWC matches on Fox, and do the same thing when Channel 7 and Fox both broadcast regular Rugby internationals.

      The only way for the networks to change their mind is to sell the SD & HD rights separately. Fox would jump on the HD rights, and the networks would be quick to sure it up. All of a sudden the 30,000 people who tuned into their other station during the grand final wouldn’t matter so much when there is a risk of flight to Foxtel.

      What a great idea. Lets make everyone who doesn't own a HD TV throw it in the landfill. And lets not waste money on better content, lets just by some HD cameras and should the same rubbish in higher resolution!!!

    Might be worth looking into how many people are watching the RWC on Fox HD, compared to on Channel 9. Games are broadcast simultaneously (i think). I know i have watched all the RWC matches on Fox, and do the same thing when Channel 7 and Fox both broadcast regular Rugby internationals.

    The only way for the networks to change their mind is to sell the SD & HD rights separately. Fox would jump on the HD rights, and the networks would be quick to sure it up. All of a sudden the 30,000 people who tuned into their other station during the grand final wouldn't matter so much when there is a risk of flight to Foxtel.

      Arguably not a bad idea. I know I would be livid if the NRL grand final moved to Fox Sports and required me to sign up for an ongoing contract - however if free-to-air networks are only going to show the game in SD only; I don't see any harm in HD moving to pay-TV.

      Really though, the best answer to the problem is an overhaul of the way viewer counts are rated; and count simulcasts over multiple networks as a single audience. If the content and the advertising are identical between the two channels, it seems nuts considering them to be separate broadcasts.

    I think the fact that ratings showed to be significantly higher on SD channels 9 and Ten, compared to that on HD GEM and Eleven, goes to show that the decision to broadcast only in SD was (financially) the right decision. [This doesn’t mean I support the move, but hear me out before you flame me]

    As has been mentioned in previous posts/comments on the HD/SD simulcast topic before, Grand Finals’ for both AFL and NRL MUST be broadcast on a free-to-air broadcaster’s analogue channel and their top tier SD channel (as not all digital receivers are capable of viewing HD content) to obey current anti-siphoning regulations set by federal government. As such, if 9 or Ten were to show either of the grand finals in HD, it would require the game to be shown BOTH on GEM and 9; and Eleven and Ten respectively.

    Unfortunately, this also means splitting the view rating count, as they’re not considered to be a single broadcast. While the TOTAL viewer count between each of their two channels; unfortunately in advertising dollars, 1.2 million + 800 thousand viewers split over 2 channels isn’t worth the same as one channel with a single 2 million thousand viewer audience.

    Unfortunately, current anti-siphoning rules are out-dated, and set by people who aren’t knowledgeable enough to make true informed decisions as to how they will affect various viewer groups. Compound this with commercial networks’ drive to have the best financial return for their share-holders, and you end up with the situation we have. Until such time that broadcast regulations are severely overhauled, expect much of the same behaviour from commercial broadcasters – regardless of the current state of analogue broadcasting.

    The troubling thing about this comparison between 9/Gem and 10/11 is that it is like comparing apples to oranges. If you want to watch the grand final you are going to watch it in SD if that is all that is available. You are not likely to watch the motoGP in HD if the rugby is what you are after, HD or no HD. A true test would be to simulcast it and then look at the numbers. Of course that is not going to happen.

    At the end of the day people will tune into what they want to watch and will bitch about the quality of the picture, but will watch anyway. From a consumer perspective I wish there was a way to "punish" the networks for broadcasting in SD, but if you are after the content they have exclusive rights to there is no way to do so that I can think of.

    As to the anti-siphoning bullcrap, Australia just needs to throw the damned switch. They have this ridiculous compo/installation scheme for people to get STBs or people could pony up the 300 bucks for a 32 inch tv at the store. We should really stop coddling people, the swap to digital has been on the cards for years. Get on with it already. If after all that people still can't get the game wnader down to the local pub and knock back a few cold ones and watch it there!

      What they really need to do is get rid of the idea that a network is allowed x amount of channels (be it SD or HD). They should be allowed x amount of content streams, and the quality of the stream shouldn't be brought into it.

      So if they've got a content stream of a grand final, they should be able to send it in SD and HD so long as they content is exactly the same. (And whatever else they have on their other streams in SD and HD).

        Networks aren't limited to having any number of channels. They can have as many as they like. The restricting factors are that each only has one multiplex to play with, and they must have at least 1 SD channel (that simulcasts their analog channel), and 1 HD channel (in 720i or higher res).

        There was no law forcing Ten and Nine to do what they did with the Grand Finals, only commercial considerations. There used to be a regulation that made them make the HD channel be the same as (or very similar to) their analog one, but that isn't in place any more.

          Actually, networks are limited to the number of channels they can have, though it's more due to bandwidth limitations within their allowed frequency (also a big part of the reason why there's so much compression on both SD and HD channels).

          There was also no rule dictating that each broadcaster's primary channel also had to be in HD; however there was a minimum amount of local content which had to be broadcast in HD. As most local content appears on the first tier channels (i.e. 7, 9, Ten) the majority of content on these channels were simulcast on the HD channel.

    The compression is still so horrendous it's pretty hard to tell the difference between SD and HD on a 40" TV.

      our supposed HD always looks so stone-age. It is not until the NFL, NBA, Nascar or the MLB comes on that you see "real HD" quality broadcasts

    AFL broadcasting has got worse, not better, in recent years. Apparently the people who broadcast the 2010 AFL Grand Finals were required to record a HD version, even though they were too weak to broadcast in HD. So somewhere in some vault is a high-res version of that match all Collingwood supporters would love to get their hands on. The same probably applies this year for Geelong supporters.

    Screw you AFL/Channel 7/Chanel 10/FoxHel! Release a BluRay and give viewers what they deserve!

    Go throw some eggs at the front door of former Senator Helen Coonan. She was the one pushing SD as 'enough' when they were decided on what to go forward with. A Minister for Communications that had absolutely no expertise in the area for which she was minister. This is a clear reason why musical ministers is such a bad thing.

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