Australia’s leading motorsport broadcaster, Network Ten, has defended its ridiculous decision to alter its Formula 1 and MotoGP broadcast schedule, despite copping enormous heat from fans across the country.
Last week, the network announced that it would televise the remaining ‘European timezone’ races in each state market at 9:30pm on Sunday nights via its primary, standard-definition channel, Ten. The change would come into effect for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The decision means that viewers who do not live on the country’s eastern seaboard will be watching these races on delay. For viewers in Western Australia, the delay will be as much as two hours.
The announcement sparked fury among motorsport fans across the country, many of whom have already declared that they would boycott the network entirely and resort to alternative means of watching the race via online streaming.
The network had pledged at the beginning of the year to broadcast all qualifying and race sessions live in high-definition on its sister station, OneHD.
The network has continually repeated the same mantra – “[it allows] all Australians to access the coverage in a consistent time slot every Sunday night,” according to its Sport Publicity Manager, Catherine Donovan – on its social media channels, on the rare occasion where it could be bothered to respond to criticism from fans.
Some social media users claim to have had their comments deleted from the network’s Facebook pages, or even being banned entirely. A comment we posted on The Roar sports website (co-owned by Network Ten) was taken down when we questioned an article’s clearly biased praise of the broadcaster’s decision to amend its broadcasting schedule.
The network’s coverage of this year’s Australian Grand Prix remains its most-watched program of any kind for the 2012 viewing year, according to the OZTAM agency, which measures ratings success of all broadcasted shows in the country.
Following strong viewership for the Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix, this prompted the network to switch its broadcasts from OneHD to Ten.
Outside of its motorsport coverage, Network Ten has struggled to compete with rival networks Seven and Nine in the annual ratings’ race, and many see its decision to switch platforms as little more than a desperate attempt to improve its Sunday night ratings’ position.
Unfortunately, it seems that this decision could well backfire if fans actually follow through with their threat to desert the network in droves.
Fans can sign a petition on the Boycott Ten Sport website to voice their disapproval to Network Ten’s decision.
PLEASE NOTE: While we acknowledge support that Network Ten has provided to us in the past during our formative years, we have now removed all of our established advertising links to Network Ten and its OneHD channel in protest over its broadcasting decision.
We will happily reinstate them when the network reverts to its earlier commitment to broadcast its motorsport coverage live and in high-definition.