Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1640
TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2005
Mr David Morgan and Mr David Collier
Q1640 Lord Maxton:
Do they then lay down when you can show the highlights on the
website? Do they say you cannot show them until so many hours
have passed from the end of the match or whatever? That is what
they do with football.
Mr Collier: No, they do not. We have set our
own limits as to what we will show as the amount of coverage,
which is something like seven instances or one and a half minutes
of highlights in an hour period.
Q1641 Lord Maxton:
Do you intend expanding that because to some of us that is the
future? Do you think that is where eventually broadcasting will
Mr Collier: It comes back to this balance between
commercial reality and what we can achieve in terms of additional
income from ECB. Clearly, there is no sense in us trying to sell
rights to broadcasters if we are competing against that broadcaster
ourselves. What we are having to try and do is work out how we
get the widest possible audience whilst also getting the value
of the commercial rights packages. That is why we believe the
best balance for us and for the consumer is for us to show highlight
clips rather than becoming directly competitive with the broadcaster,
because if we did we would downgrade the value of our own rights.
We would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
Q1642 Baroness Howe of Idlicote:
I wanted to ask a slightly broader question. You were talking
about Sky and how they had introduced quite an interesting range
of how cricket has been seen and explained to those who perhaps
do not understand it. I was intrigued to see that women's cricket
was one of the areas that they covered. I wondered what was the
point of that. Cricket is a pretty masculine game and I wondered
what you thought the motivation was for that side and whether
the BBC would be quite as good at it as Sky clearly has been.
What do you think their motivation was?
Mr Collier: Certainly ECB were very keen within
the broadcasting agreements to ensure that not only did we cover
our international game but that we also covered a wide aspect
of cricket, that the domestic game, our county game, as well as
our women's game, as well as our under-19 international matches
were covered. The only broadcaster which has covered the women's
game and our under-19 games has been BSkyB. I think it is again
because of the range of opportunity they have in terms of a dedicated
sports channel that they have been able to do that. There was
massive interest in our women's side when they regained the Ashes
this year. There was a wonderful reception at the Brit Oval when
they paraded the Ashes around the outfield there. They were part
of the Ashes parade in London. That gave women's cricket the biggest
boost, and certainly the discussions at the International Cricket
Council were that England and Wales has been a world leader in
promoting the women's game in the last 12 months primarily because
of the coverage that we received on BSkyB.
Q1643 Baroness Howe of Idlicote:
I asked that question with tongue in cheek because I was taught
cricket at school and consequently have followed it ever since,
so I have a slightly biased view on that. Having said that, the
question really was also, because we are looking at the BBC Charter
Review, do you think now, having seen what Sky have done, that
the BBC are going to be able or will want to do the same, encourage
womenbigger audience and all sorts of other reasons?
Mr Morgan: There is no reason at all why the
BBC should not cover women's cricket and cover the aspects of
the game that are not normally associated with the Test Match
and One Day International cricket played by other players.
There is one last question which I think will require a one-word
reply. I imagine that you are not in favour of cricket going back
to Group A in the listed events?
Mr Morgan: Correct.
I thought that might be the case. I would like to thank you very
much indeed for coming. How many more one day matches are there?
Mr Collier: One.
Chairman: We wish you luck in the last
game. Thank you very much. You have put yourselves out incredibly.
I hope the jet lag is not too bad and have a very good Christmas.