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TV networks fight mooted gambling ad ban

News, 24 April 2017
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SYDNEY: A blanket ban on gambling ads during live sports broadcasts is reportedly going to be considered by the Australian government this week, but new data suggests the move could cost TV networks more than $135m in lost revenue.

According to AdNews, the latest figures from research and measurement firm Nielsen indicate that betting shops spent $135m over the past year on free-to-air metropolitan and regional TV advertising.

In addition, data from Standard Media Index show that media agency bookings for TV gambling ads grew by 19% to $141m in 2016.

It is also expected that a "siren to siren" ban on ads during live sports, which so far Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has declined to comment on, would have a considerable negative impact on the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League.

Fox Sports and the Seven and Nine networks cover these major sports and are now stepping up the pressure against a ban, or at least one that covers social media, such as Facebook where a high volume of gambling ads are served.

"The reported gambling restrictions would have a significant impact on the future value of sporting rights for FTA broadcasters and as a result we are likely to see more of them migrating to unregulated platforms run by foreign multinationals," Seven Network said in a statement.

"It is more important than ever that we support Australian industry which is why we urge the government to act quickly on licence fee reductions for commercial television," the company added.

Nine Network also insisted that all media should be included, if the ban goes ahead."We are prepared to work with government on a path to reform for gambling advertising across all platforms," a Nine spokesperson said.

"Measures targeting TV alone does not reflect the reality of how audiences are exposed to gambling advertising and the sensible approach would be to include all platforms."

Data sourced from AdNews; additional content by WARC staff

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