Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Puttnam Lord Puttnam Labour 6:15 pm, 8th February 2017

My Lords, I rise to make two observations, one of which makes me feel very old. I worked with the then Prime Minister, Sir Harold Wilson, on looking at the whole issue of free-to-air sporting events in terms of where they penetrated and where they had to be retained. It is interesting to note that last week it was announced that the Six Nations competition is broadcast free to air not only to all the countries involved, but also has the largest live audience for any sport anywhere in the world. So there is no, as it were, collision between the appeal of a sport, the size of the arenas and the number of people attending the events, and the fact that these events are also available on free-to-air television. I sense that sometimes it feels like it might be a trade-off: you have to get the money in or you will not get a sufficient audience. The Six Nations competition is a classic example of something that succeeds at every level.