TV war armistice
By TONY WHITE & AAP
AFTER 12 months of bureaucratic bastardry, country race viewers will soon have access to Sydney and Victorian gallop meetings via pay-TV provider, Austar.
TVN (ThoroughVisioN) have confirmed it had accepted an offer from Sky Channel on Wednesday to settle the proceedings initiated by Sky Channel in August 2005 which had prevented the TVN Channel from being shown on Austar.
The terms of the settlement involve Sky Channel agreeing to the TVN Channel being broadcast by Austar.
It is estimated over 700,000 country and regional viewers have been grossly affected since the dispute began.
The service has been blacked out since the broadcast wars between Tabcorp-owned Sky Channel and rival TVN, owned by the Australian Jockey Club, Sydney Turf Club and Victorian race clubs, commenced on May 4 last year.
Due to the split screen vision of racing wagering growth in NSW and Victoria has been crippled costing the racing industry an estimated $160 million.
TVN Chairman Harold Mitchell, AO, said: "TVN is delighted that regional Australia will now be able to enjoy the full TVN service that it has been unable to access since May last year.
"We see this as a commercially sensible concession by Sky Channel and a vindication of the position taken by TVN."
TVN will now commence negotiations with Austar to ensure the TVN Channel is available to regional viewers as soon as possible.
Despite government intervention the dispute has lingered and while Sky Channel have relaxed its exclusive rights agreement with Austar, there is no end in sight to other contentious issues in the broadcast wars.
Meanwhile, James Packer and TVN shareholders met at his Publishing & Broadcasting Sydney head office last night.
Packer was expected to make a $25 million offer to acquire a quarter share of TVN.
Gold Coast-based businessmen Matthew and Scott Perrin are also believed to looking at an alliance with TVN.