The News Ltd camp took an interesting line today in reporting the
surprise
alliance between Seven and Ten in the battle for the free-to-air
rights for the
AFL from 2007. The Murdoch papers almost endorsed the new
alliance in
opposition to their current partner Nine (and PBL). From the
headlines in The Australian “Seven and Ten crash-tackle Nine” to The Daily Telegraph’s “Seven, Ten ambush and AFL TV showdown” the line from the current
rights
holders’ camp was pro Seven and Ten.

In the News Ltd dailies Terry McCrann‘s commentary was straight up and down and canvassed the broader
implications.
These included settlement of the Seven Network’s legal action
over the collapse
of C7 (its pay sports channel) in which the Ten network is a
defendant, and
what that would in turn mean.

Settlement with News of the legal action might produce a joint bid, with
News
taking the pay TV rights for Foxtel. Seven would want some costs in
any
settlement of its long legal challenge. It has spent around $100 million on
the
court case and $24 million will be spent this year as the case moves to
trial.
Any settlement would have to resolve that. Perhaps there’s something
down the
track on the ownership of Foxtel, with Telstra perhaps more interested
than
ever in securing content and bidding with Seven and Ten. But Telstra is
a
defendant in the Seven court case, and that would need settling.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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