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Oz sports discovers IPTV, just a little

Bureaucrats look at how to get screen time for second-tier sports

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The rather-battered Australian Sports Commission has discovered the Internet and has mooted that it might be used to help put second-rank sports in front of a viewing audience.

In an interview with the ABC, the commission's chair John Wylie has explained that IPTV could be considered as a distribution option, under a study just commenced.

The study is looking at the low levels of exposure available to “minor” sports – netball, rowing, hockey and the like – in a country where sports broadcasting is dominate by a small handful of commercial free-to-air broadcasters and pay TV operators.

So the commission is conducting an internal study into whether it should create a dedicated channel devoted to lesser sports. Wylie told the ABC's Alison Caldwell that “we are looking at a feasibility study to look at bringing together all of the sports that struggle to get broadcast exposure in Australia today.”

Asked about outlets, Wylie says IPTV could be used "...through pay television, it could be through internet protocol television, it could be through public broadcasting. We'll look at all distribution outlets for it. The most important thing in modern media is content is king and we think that this could be fantastic content and really interesting for all Australians,” he told Caldwell.

Of course, only the relentless cynical would associate a minor good news announcement with the bad press surrounding Australian sport at the moment.

It's far more likely that the ASC has finally noticed the existence of the Internet plus cheap high-definition cameras means minor sports might start turning up on YouTube. From that point of view, it might be seen as a good business move to pre-emptively wrap up ownership of whatever content might emerge – before the opportunity gets snapped up by someone else. ®

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