BY STAFF WRITERS
Former ARLC chairman John Grant has urged the game to keep the NRL’s digital arm away from Channel Nine arguing that it’s a $2 billion asset and vital to the future of the code.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Roy Masters (Nine owns SMH) wrote, “Grant calculates that if the NRL converted half its existing 1.6 million digital customers into $25-per-month subscribers, and had a free-to-air broadcaster pay a fair but lesser price than Nine pays now – plus monetises other available revenue streams – it could produce annual revenue of over $360m with advertising offsetting production costs.”
Nine is eager to purchase the NRL digital arm at a cheap price.
The majority of people in the game – not aligned to Nine Entertainment Co – see it as a transparent tactical play by Nine with Phil Gould (a Nine employee since the 1990’s) strongly against the NRL digital arm.
But Grant’s calculations see the NRL digital arm as one of the most important cogs in the game’s future stability.
“That’s almost $2b over five years, and any asset capable of generating this sort of cashflow is a very valuable asset,” Grant told Masters.
“Also, the NRL is in a good position to start with a restructure of the costs in the game. Right now, the ARL Commission has a very big decision to make. To sell or not to sell NRL.com! I just hope that before the die is cast, the good people on the commission, led by what has, to date, been a very capable and strong Peter V’landys, do the numbers and make the right decision for the game’s future. The opportunity to retain sovereignty over this future and to redefine the game’s cost structure and its relationship with the media is very enticing.”