Foxtel clarifies its AFL broadcast in HD

21 September 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission welcomes the steps taken by Foxtel Management Pty Ltd to improve the level of information provided to consumers about the picture quality and resolution of its broadcasts of AFL games on the Fox Footy HD and Fox Sports 1 HD channels.

Foxtel broadcasts nine games of AFL on these channels in high definition in each round. Of those nine games, five are filmed using high definition cameras and then broadcast in high definition while four games are filmed in standard definition and then up-converted to high definition before they are broadcast. While the games are broadcast to the high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080i* the up-converted games are of a lower picture quality.

The ACCC was concerned that Foxtel, by using a number of terms such as “real HD”, “beautiful”, “glorious”, “brilliant”, “stunning”, and “best HD experience” to promote its AFL high definition broadcasts, had created the impression that there was a singular and absolute level of high definition and that this had the potential to mislead consumers and contravene the Australian Consumer Law.

Foxtel has now amended its promotional material and clarified that all of the five weekly games produced by FOX Sports on behalf of Foxtel are produced in native high definition, that is, the matches are filmed using high definition cameras and broadcast in high definition and that four games, sourced from the Seven Network are up-converted from standard definition to high definition and broadcast as part of the FOX Footy HD and Fox Sports 1 HD channels.

Foxtel has agreed to issue a corrective notice and provide further information on its website in relation to its high definition broadcasts. Foxtel has also agreed to ensure future promotions do not mislead consumers and to provide some compensation to those subscribers who lodged complaints with Foxtel or the ACCC.

“The ACCC is pleased that Foxtel is clarifying any confusion regarding its promotion of AFL broadcasts in high definition. The ACCC recognises the popularity of watching AFL in Australia and I re-iterate that companies must provide clarity and transparency in their advertising so consumers can be sure of what they’re getting,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC took action after receiving complaints from a number of consumers that had subscribed to Foxtel’s high definition AFL channels believing that all games would be filmed in native high definition and would receive one level of quality.

The ACCC engaged in discussions with Foxtel following an assessment of the various representations. Foxtel cooperated positively with the ACCC and changed their marketing practices to better inform consumers.
*high definition is a measure of the number of lines and pixels on a screen. 1920 refers to the number of active pixels and 1080i refers to 1080 interlaced lines.

Release number: 
NR 204/12
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