Aussie Seven Network Outline Damages Claim

21 September 2005

One of the biggest media trials in Australian history has heard claims that the Seven television network was devalued by up to A$662 million ($507m; €417m; £281m) by the closure of its C7 pay TV channel.

Seven says this sum represents the revenue and growth opportunities it lost because, without C7, it could not pursue an "integrated media company strategy".

The network is pursuing 22 defendants for A$1.058 billion, alleging that media giants Telstra, News Ltd and Publishing and Broadcasting, among others, conspired in 1999 and 2000 to prevent C7 from gaining broadcasting rights to several lucrative sporting events.

The channel was scrapped in 2002 after its parent said it was no longer financially viable.

Seven, controlled by self-made billionaire Kerry Stokes, alleges that News, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, organised a collusion to destroy C7 so that its half-owned Fox Sports would achieve a monopoly in pay TV programming and its 25%-owned Foxtel would entrench its dominance of retail pay TV.

Seven's lawyer, John Sheahan, called on Justice Ron Sackville at Sydney Federal Court, to restructure the pay TV industry because ownership links between Foxtel and Fox Sports meant "a mere award of damages" would not prevent repeat misconduct.

The case continues.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff