Red Alert

Paralympics Coverage

Posted by on September 7th, 2012

This morning Sophie Pascoe won her third gold medal of the Paralympics. It is a champion effort from her, and shows she is firmly established as one of our great all-time Paralympians. Overall New Zealand athletes have won 14 medals. And what have we seen of that on TV? Almost nothing. Those of us lucky enough to have Sky can see nightly highlight packages, but they are brief and that’s it. Nothing on free to air except for random news coverage.

Sky TV has the rights to the coverage, so its not totally fair to blame the free to air channels. Having said that there is no shortage of brilliant human interest stories if they wanted to put the resources into being at the finish line or poolside.

Clare has already put out a statement expressing her concern about the lack of coverage. I really think that New Zealand is missing the boat here. Almost everyone I know in London has gone to an event and loved it. It screens 16 hours a day on Channel Four and is rating through the roof. In Australia they are getting 100 hours of live coverage across the event, and Australian politicians are attending in support.

I should note that there has also been some controversyin the US about lack of coverage.

There is a story underlying this about media ownership in New Zealand of course, and the rights deals that dominate coverage of sport, but at any level more could be done. No one is asking for the same coverage as the Olympics, but just some recognition of a great global event.

Sky have said

we just can’t be in the business of making programming decisions that don’t have some commercial sense to them

This says it all, but also shows a lack of imagination. I have said before that I think one of the best programmes on TV is Attitude, the disabilities issues show that screens on a Sunday morning. The stories are inspirational, interesting and well told. It could easily screen in prime time on a Sunday night. With the right promotion and marketing Sky could have made a whole lot more of the Paralympics.

It is such a shame. New Zealand is doing well, and the courage and talent of the athletes on show is remarkable and inspirational. Such a missed opportunity and such a lack of respect for our athletes.


4 Responses to “Paralympics Coverage”

  1. Ehoa says:

    Sky have missed the boat, the ticket sales, demands for broadcasting these games have caught caught greedy pay-per-view broadcasters well short on public expectations.

    This is a no win situation…Sky has a lobbyist wandering freely through all Parliamentary and Beehive offices, regularly seen wining and dining MPs from parties all and sundry.

    But here’s the clincher…Sky sponsors the Parliamentary rugby team and as long as that continues to happen, Sky does as Sky wants.

  2. Rob S says:

    Sky TV is a business though. Their shareholders invest money in them to make a profit back, not for fun.

    How is this any different from a person wanting the most money they can get for work performed?

    That’s strangely enough how business works. If the return on investment is too low, then shareholders pull their cash out and leave it in a bank to rot (which is stuff all use for a country that needs it to be worth doing business and employing people).

    The fact it wasn’t deemed commercially viable is a sadder indictment on the populous, than it is on Sky.

  3. Ehoa says:

    I fully get that the fudiciary duty of any business/corporation is to return dividends to it shareholders. However, all corporates and business still have a social/moral/ethical obligation to its stakeholders — in this case Sky subscribers.

    That the paralympics organising committee is to review its arrangements with its broadcaster NBC because none of the games were shown live speaks volumes of how these games have grown.

    Ironical, no actually its hypocritcal, that MPs fell over themselves to congratulate the Paralympians in the House yesterday while at the same time bemoaning the lack of live coverage.

    Has any of them thought of collaring Sky’s lobbyist in Parliament and made it clear sky’s gesture of tokenism was disgraceful and unacceptable, or were they too busy accepting corporate box tickets to watch the All Blacks play this weekend?

    I’d much rather have watched the paralympics than non-stop re-runs of mindless and boring rugby games.

  4. Rob S says:

    Totally with you on that