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Seven: we are not perfect

Talking heads: Channel Seven's broadcast of the AFL has left a bit to be desired.

Talking heads: Channel Seven's broadcast of the AFL has left a bit to be desired. Photo: Penny Stephens

CHANNEL Seven managing director Lewis Martin likened his AFL commentary team to a football club yesterday.

It wasn't perfect, the new boys were learning, there were weekly reviews but, for the most part, he was pleased with its coverage five rounds into the season.

Seven, which has had excellent ratings, has been criticised for having exclusive rights to team selections.

Seven, which has had excellent ratings, has been criticised for having exclusive rights to team selections.

Martin defended his team amid criticism from senior Age sports journalist Rohan Connolly, who yesterday wrote Seven's AFL coverage had ''totally missed the mark this season''.

In a stinging column, which attracted more than 400 reader responses, Connolly said, among other things, Seven was guilty of showing too many replays and missing live action.

Martin said that when to use replays was a tricky issue. ''With the replays, there is a bit of the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't,'' he said.

''There is the occasion where, particularly a player going back for a set shot will go back, he might take his full time, take his 30 seconds, or he might give the ball off.

''If you go for a replay during that time and he gives the ball off, you come back to air - 'oh gee, made a blue there'.

''We are not saying we are perfect at the moment. We are saying that definitely we will take a lot of comments on board.''

Martin said the AFL was the ''hardest game in the world I think to broadcast''.

Connolly also criticised former Swans premiership captain Brett Kirk, who does special comments for Seven.

It appears Kirk, whose bizarre introductory speech on a Saturday telecast has gone viral on YouTube, has been told to play up to his spiritual side.

Martin said he wanted all of his commentators to act naturally.

''You don't want to tell a Cameron Ling or a Brett Kirk - or a Mick Malthouse for that matter - or a Tom Harley or a Leigh Matthews to be somebody they are not,'' he said on SEN. ''Brett Kirk played the game with his heart on his sleeve and that's how he is making his contribution to the broadcast experience.

''The same with Cameron Ling. He is five games in. I think his broadcast capacity, his skills and his presence on camera have just been way beyond our expectation.''

Martin dismissed claims veteran callers Dennis Cometti and Bruce McAvaney had become something of a ''pantomime act'', declaring they were ''world's best practice''.

He also scoffed at claims Seven, having last year paid a record $1.25 billion along with Foxtel and Telstra for broadcast rights, did not ''love'' football.

It's been a rocky start for Seven and Foxtel.

Seven, which has had excellent ratings, has been criticised for having exclusive rights to team selections on its Thursday night news, while Fox privately attacked Seven for failing to televise its matches in HD and for not continuing its commentary in ad breaks after goals. Fox does not have advertisement breaks. Seven has since changed tack and its commentators continue their analysis through the breaks.


  • congrats to rohan connolly and everyone who commented yesterday. This is a great example of the positive power of the press. Let's hope things improve from here.

    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 7:19AM
    • Seven say their ratings are good, but for those who can not afford ( or do not want to pay for) Fox, Seven is the "only game in town". They are the only restaurant in town, and they can serve what maggoty food they want and you have to eat it or go hungry. Seven will not change, it is obvious from the comment from their GM in the article. We have to get used to eating the maggots in the food!

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 9:00AM
    • AFL is just a ;local game. In a global environment there is no place for AFL. So why worry this much.

      sports fanatic
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 9:29AM
    • As an occasional football viewer I just couldn't put my finger on it - why was football viewing suddenly oh so banal! Tanks for nailing it Rohan, I now know exactly why!

      Pretty scary when somewhat uninitiated football viewers can also smell a rat! LIft your game Channel 7!

      ho hum here we go
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 9:38AM
    • Seven's AFL game ratings are good? Are they serious? Of course they're good! They have the only free to air coverage of the AFL. It's the AFL that rates not Seven. Even if another channel was covering the game we'd watch if our team was playing. Having another free-to-air with AFL coverage kept Seven on their toes. Now they're navel fluffing (thanks Kirky).

      Macavaney knows every team down to the players' mothers' shoe sizes BUT he has zero wit. Richo and Darc' aren't much better. Mick seems to be talking in a way the average meathead can comprehend since leaving coaching.

      At least BT understands that you can call and entertain at the same time. You can love the game without having to be sycophantic about it. It's the greatest game there is but it is just a game and it's primary role is to entertain.

      And Seven, please recognize that serious couch coaches have Tivo or the Fox box, or some form of PVR so we can do our own replays - you can do a few less and should focus on replaying fresh angles only. Tighten up!

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 9:50AM
    • Commetti and MacAvaney ARE a pantomine act, constantly referring to their one-liners that made them famous (eg "Special", "Centimetre Perfect"). Dennis' once witty one-liners are now so rehearsed and planned it is nauseating. And don't get me started on Bruce's orgasmic cries every time one of his favourites go near the ball. Having Foxc, I thought I'd heard the last of this lot but, despite not even having switched on Channel 7 this year, I still have to put up with them!

      Go Blues
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 10:15AM
    • Sports Fanatic, it matters not if Aussie Rules is the biggest game in the world, or just a fad. Fact is in most of Australia, it's THE biggest sport and the sport that holds the interest of the nation the most. It matters not if the sport is dwarfed internationally by other more "McDonalds" type sports. Just because a small hamburger chain like "Grill'd" isn't a blip compared to the Big Mac franchise, it doesn't mean it can't be BETTER than them, and adopt better practices and eventually, they might grow large also.

      Back 10-15 years ago when Mixed Martial Arts was in its infancy and hardly anybody knew about the UFC, or PrideFC, I still cared about its presentation, its commentary and hoped it would become more and more professional, whilst keeping its soul intact. Now look at it. MMA is a global sport. Sure it's been made into much more of a "product" but just because something is 'local' or 'small', doesn't mean it can't improve, adopt worlds best practice. The better the sport is presented, the easier it is for new audiences to understand.

      Aussie Rules is a complex game, so the demands of the broadcast team are even more critical. As a so called "sports fanatic" I thought you'd be able to appreciate this.

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 10:18AM
    • Good result from a top footy commentator if indeed 7 actually does anything to improve the situation.

      I turn the volume down low so I can watch football. I turn it up if I need something clarified. Its bound to be clarified by the commentators and replays again and again and again and again and again and again... etc.

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 10:35AM
    • People should go to Fox if they're unhappy, C7 will soon change IF the ratings change!

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 11:46AM
    • CH7 is yet to broadcast more than 2 games live into perth over a w/end. Friday night football has never been live, and the result is always known by the end of 1st qtr. The Seven network has 5 digital channels, and chooses not to show live football on any of them...I wonder what the ratings are between foxtel and CH7 in perth are? CH7 is appalling!

      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 12:32PM

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