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«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»

-- [ Page 64 ] --

So it would seem for you, the viewer, with your Optus pay TV and you’re paying it every month, no harm done. Optus continues to hold key programming rights, including the AFL and certain national Rugby League games. So it seems Optus is committed to pay TV, making some rationalisation along the way. And if you’ve seen it last week on Optus, it seems quite clear that you’ll see it next week.1101 Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing

Mr Jones made the following submission:

Again, this is an announcement, expressly attributed to Optus: ‘Optus has said...’. It states facts, and there is no suggestion that the facts are inaccurate.1102 The Panel’s Findings

The Panel finds that this matter is an advertisement because:

♦ it is calculated or designed to promote Optus. Mr Jones reassures Optus customers that they will not be disadvantaged by the rationalisations, saying, ‘hang on, there’s no problem. Optus has said that AFL and other programs now seen on Sports Vision will continue to be seen exclusively by Optus pay TV subscribers’ and ‘So it seems Optus is committed to pay TV’;1103 and ♦ valuable consideration was provided to Mr Jones by Cable and Wireless Optus Pty Limited.

The Panel finds that this advertisement has been presented as an ‘other program’ for the

following reasons:

♦ it has the characteristics and content of a current affairs program;

♦ it purports to concern matters relating to social issues of relevance to the community, namely the broadcasting sport and pay television subscription; and ♦ The Panel finds this matter has been presented as a current affairs program. Reporting of attributed points of view is a feature of current affairs programs. Mr Jones expresses a personal opinion and observation of an issue. Mr Jones states, ‘So it seems Optus is committed to pay TV’.1104 The Panel finds that 2UE breached clause 3.1(a) of the Codes.

CWO.0002.0323 Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 240.

CWO.0002.0323 CWO.0002.0323

MOBILE PHONE CALL DROP OUT

Material Provided to Mr Jones On 17 August 1999 Optus sent a fax to Mr Jones saying ‘we’re pretty keen to promote our position on this issue’.1105 A document entitled ‘Script – Alan Jones: Mobile Connection

Fees’, which was attached to the fax, covered the following points:

One of the biggest bug bears for mobile phone users is call drop out.

It’s become quite an issue lately – but at least the phone companies have acknowledged the problem and are spending millions of dollars on improving their networks.

But one thing many mobile users might not know is that some phone companies actually charge a connection fee every time you dial someone again after a call has dropped out.

Optus is one carrier that doesn’t charge connection fees for mobile calls to anywhere in Australia.

So if you’re not an Optus mobile customer, you should probably find out if you’re paying connection fees and, if so, how much it’s costing you?1106 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 1 September 1999 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

You know that mobile phones are the bain of all our lives, I was interested to learn – I mean if you use them and use them often. I mean I was interested to learn one aspect of all that that’s just been drawn to my attention which gives cause for concern, obviously the whole business of mobile phones dropping out drives us all around the bend, and you know the experience, you finish up talking to yourself until you realise that the line’s dropped out.

Well phone companies have acknowledged the problem and are apparently spending millions of dollars on improving their networks, but one thing you mightn’t know, is that some phone companies actually charge a connection fee every time you dial someone again after the call has dropped out. In other words, phone companies have no way of knowing that the call hasn’t been terminated, but rather, through imperfections in the system, has in fact, terminated itself, if you know what I mean.

Now I’m just telling you that Optus is one carrier which doesn’t charge a connection fee for mobile calls anywhere in Australia, so if you’re not an Optus mobile phone customer and you please yourself who you are, but you should probably find out if you’re paying connection fees. Honestly, I didn’t know that. How much is it costing you for your mobile phone? If it drops out you’ve paid to connect, and because of the system, it drops out you’re paying to connect and you’re paying to connect again. I call that a bit of a rip-off.1107

–  –  –

Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing

Mr Jones made the following submission:

This is not a broadcast designed to attract public attention, but rather to raise a question in the minds of Mr Jones’ listeners. Mr Jones is reporting a fact – namely that Optus does not charge a connection fee. There is no suggestion that the fact is false. He suggests that listeners find out the position in relation to their own mobile phones, if they are interested.1108 The Panel’s Findings

The Panel finds that this matter is an advertisement because:

♦ it is calculated or designed to promote Optus by focusing attention on mobile phone drop out and Optus’ position on the issue. Mr Jones states the fact, ‘but one thing you mightn’t know, is that some phone companies actually charge a connection fee every time you dial someone again after the call has dropped out.’ Mr Jones presents only one alternative to companies which charge connection fees, ‘Now I’m just telling you that Optus is one carrier which doesn’t charge a connection fee for mobile calls anywhere in Australia’1109; and ♦ valuable consideration was provided to Mr Jones by Cable and Wireless Optus Pty Limited.





The Panel finds that this advertisement has been presented as an ‘other program’ for the

following reasons:

♦ it has the characteristics and content of a current affairs program; and ♦ it purports to concern matters relating to social and economic issues of relevance to the community, namely the inconvenience and expense of mobile phone drop out.

The Panel finds that 2UE breached clause 3.1(a) of the Codes.

OPTUS UPDATE

Material Provided to Mr Jones Ms Alexandra Lutyens, Sponsorship Manager at Optus, faxed Ms Mickey Braithwaite on 21 July 1998, ‘explaining a little more clearly than our direct mail piece’ the product known

as ‘Optus UpDate’.1110 Ms Lutyens writes:

Optus Update is a system that pages (sends) text messages to your mobile screen. It can send information in one of a number of categories - these are nominated by you at the time you apply. These categories are: Shares, weather, news, traffic, financial, sports and Ansett Flight updates.

So if for instance you apply to have share information sent to your screen, you nominate the shares you would like tracked and at what level of % change in the share price you would like Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 242 AJ.0001.0228 AJ.0004.0752 to have the information sent to you. It is then automatically sent whenever the share price changes to that degree.1111 Ms Braithwaite forwarded Ms Lutyens’ fax to Mr Jones on 25 July 1998 with a covering

letter stating:

She [Ms Lutyens] has been instructed to forward information to you on a regular basis so that you can give it a plug on air.

They would like mentioned their new mobile phone system called Optus Update.

–  –  –

If one was to nominate they were interested in share information and you advised Optus of which share you wanted tracked and what % change in the share price etc - this information would automatically be sent whenever the share price changes to that degree.

Or id you wanted traffic information sent daily, one nominates on their Optus form which region of Sydney they are interested in and updates are sent daily at 7.30 am and 5.30 pm.

If one was interested in AFL or League, your phone can be programmed so that one can receive progress scores by the quarter, half and full time.1112

A script dated 28 July 1998 covers the following:

My attention has just been drawn to a thing called Optus Update, which is the new mobile phone system for Optus.

–  –  –

All you would do would be to nominate to Optus which categories you are interested in - that is shares or weather or news or traffic or financial or sport, for full updates.

So if you nominated to Optus that you’re interested in share information, and you advised Optus of which share you wanted tracked and percentage change in the share price you needed to know, this information would be immediately sent whenever the share price changed to that degree.

Or if you wanted traffic information sent daily, nominate on your Optus form which area of Sydney you’re interested in and updates would be sent daily at 7.30 am to 5.30 pm.

If you’re interested in AFL or League and your phone could be programmed so that you received progress scores by the quarter, half or full time and all information all information can be altered through the update website.1113 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 28 July 1998 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

My attention’s just been drawn to a thing called Optus Update which is the new mobile phone system for Optus. I mean, this is how it works, amazing technology isn’t it? The mobile phone, AJ.0004.0752 AJ.0004.0751 AJ.0004.0748 the screen, the phone screen, you know, that’s in front of you - I’m not up to all of this, but I do have one of these things I never use, but it shows a text message, or it can. And all you would do would be to nominate to Optus - this is amazing - which categories you’re interested in.

So are you interested in information about shares or weather or the news or traffic or any financial information or sport? So if you nominated to Optus that you were interested in share information and you advised Optus of which share, BHP say, you wanted tracked, and the percentage change in the share you needed to know, that information would be automatically sent to you whenever the share price changed to that degree, that’d go on your screen.

Just supposing you wanted traffic information sent daily, you just nominate on your Optus form, because you come from Penrith, which region of Sydney you’re interested in, and updates would be sent daily at half past seven in the morning and half past five at night. Or if you’re interested in AFL or the League, your phone could be programmed - this is amazing so that you received progress scores by the quarter, half and full time. And all information can be altered through the update website.

This is called Optus Update. Unbelievable. And Optus’ll connect any of these categories to your phone if you fill out the application form. Just give them a call. And you can check all of this out on the Optus Update Internet site, which is www.update.optus.net.au. And you have to make an application, fill out an application form. And you can ring them on 1800 500 614.

You get an application form or you can fax it in. When it’s completed you send it in, tell them what you want to appear on your phone, your Optus mobile phone. And you ring them, 1800

500 614. Amazing.1114 The Panel’s Findings

The Panel finds that this matter to be an advertisement for ‘Optus UpDate’ because:

♦ it is calculated or designed to promote Optus by focusing attention on Optus’ ‘UpDate’ mobile phone product. Mr Jones states, ‘This is called Optus Update. Unbelievable. And Optus’ll connect any of these categories to your phone if you fill out the application form. Just give them a call. And you can check all of this out on the Optus Update Internet site, which is www.update.optus.net.au … Amazing’1115; and ♦ valuable consideration was provided to Mr Jones by Cable and Wireless Optus Pty Limited.

The Panel finds that this advertisement has not been presented as a ‘ news program or other

program’ for the following reasons:

♦ the entire content of the broadcast focuses the promotion of a specific Optus product.

Mr Jones conveys the following information: what the product is, how good it is, what it does, how to get it, and that it is useful to have; and ♦ it does not concern matters of political, social or economic issues of relevance to the community.

Clause 3.1(a) is only concerned where advertisements have been presented as news programs or other programs.

The Panel finds that 2UE is not in breach of Code 3.1(a).

–  –  –

HALF-YEARLY RESULT

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 23 February 1999, Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Jacquesy mentioned Cable and Wireless Optus and the result yesterday. I must say well done to Chris Anderson and the people down there. A good half-yearly result.

The value of the company has risen by a billion dollars and Optus are going full steam towards selling what Chris Anderson calls ‘the full sweep of telephony services’.

This affects all of us – local, long distance, pay TV, Internet, you can get it all from the one provider: Cable and Wireless Optus.

Now, of course, telephony and local telephony in particular are the two issues that Optus can be expected to gear itself towards. In the six months to December last they connected 139,000 new local call service subscribers.

Chris Anderson says they’re connecting new subscribers at double that rate today. This is going to eat significantly into the Telstra share which is one of the reasons they’re wanting to privatise Telstra. If this keeps going you won’t get the price for Telstra in two years time that you might have got for it now.

But on that basis Optus would have half a million local call subscribers in about two years.

The most important part of this is that most new local call subscribers are taking one or two other Optus services like, for example, pay TV or long distance, the long distance service.



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