Updated: ACMA rains on Nine's 3D party

ACMA blocks permanent 3D license to Nine pending release of trial report

The Nine Network’s failure to deliver a report to industry watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), on its 3D trials have temporarily barred its ability to broadcast the NRL grand final in the format.

The broadcaster issued a statement earlier in the week announcing its intentions to broadcast the grand final in 3D on 3 October.

However, ACMA has blocked a license for the network’s broadcast, pending the release of a report due from the Nine Network on its 3D trial license.

“The ACMA has indicated to Nine that no further trial licences will be issued before the report is received and considered,” a release from the watchdog reads.

The report was due on 18 August - 30 days after the expiry of the Nine Networks’ trial license - but has not yet been filed with ACMA.

Nine jointly held a trial 3D channel with the SBS during the May to August period, broadcasting the State of Origin matches in 3D. The SBS also used the channel to broadcast 16 select matches from the FIFA 2010 World Cup in the format.

“It was a triumph for all involved, from the players down,” Nine Network chief executive, David Gyngell, said of the 3D trial in May. “And apart from the record audience, Nine’s broadcast was world class. The experiment with 3D was a winner, widely acclaimed by those lucky enough to experience it.

“My only regret is the limited access to 3D, but that’s about to change big time in the months and years ahead. It is also a learning curve for us as broadcasters, so the certain expectation is that we’ll deliver even better coverage in the rest of the series.”

A spokesperson for ACMA said the delay Nine's report didn't preclude it from handing out licenses to other broadcasters, but that it would educate the watchdog on the possibility of future trials.

"The ACMA’s guidelines for consideration of applications for trial licences indicate that successful applicants may be required to provide reports and that these reports may be made public," the spokesperson told Computerworld Australia. "In the case of the 3D trials, the ACMA considers that there is still much to be understood about 3D TV transmission and reception, and is currently considering applications for further trials that could explore these challenges. Provision of information on the learnings of the first trial – while not a precondition on the issue of further licences to other parties – will help to inform the ACMA in deciding whether and how to facilitate further trials."

Channel Seven has also signalled intentions to broadcast the AFL grand final in 3D on 25 September, with trials already held on some games throughout the tournament. However, the ACMA spokesperson confirmed the network had not yet received a license to broadcast the event.

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