Sky TV Fellet boss takes blame for oversight

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 12:38 31/07/2014
Sky Sport

It was was race for NZ's 600th medal at the Commonwealth Games. Valerie Adams claimed it with a gold in the shot-put, closely followed by a silver to weightlifter Staislav Chalaev.

Valerie Adams
TWITTER/@nzolympics
INTERVIEW TIME: Valerie Adams is interviewed by Sky TV's Melodie Robinson straight after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

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Sky TV boss John Fellet accepted "personal blame" for the broadcaster failing to acknowledge New Zealand's 600th Commonwealth Games medal in Glasgow today but wouldn't back away from some of the cuddly approaches by his presenting staff.

Val Adams claimed gold in the women's shot put this morning and with it came the milestone moment of New Zealand's 600th medal at this level.

But with Sky TV taking the BBC feed, there was no mention of it from the British commentators. And when Adams was being interviewed in the mix zone by Sky TV's own Melodie Robinson, the piece of history was again completely overlooked.

This despite another of Sky's presenters, Scotty Stevenson, tweeting more than three hours earlier of the possibility of history happening. Embarrassingly Sky TV even tweeted out the 600th medal acknowledgement almost as soon as Adams' victory was confirmed. But there was nothing on the live TV feed to inform viewers as Adams celebrated the success of her 19.88m throw.

"I'm sorry I disappointed you on the 600th medal issue. It was an important milestone and we didn't spend enough time on it. I will take personal blame for it," Fellet told Fairfax Media today.

"We rely in part on the host broadcaster so that could be an issue."

Fellet suggested his team were likely to "try and get one on ones with Val and go a little bit more in depth on it".

Sky's decision to provide wall to wall coverage across six channels has seen them move away from providing New Zealand commentators for events because of the proportionate costs.

"TVNZ had always taken quite bigger teams up there but only brought back one feed.

The way we wanted to do it is to try to take fewer people up and bring more content back."

Sky has preferred to use four presenters to capture reactions and the flavour of the games.

But that has also brought a questionable approach at times. Twice Stevenson has been seen on camera hugging athletes before he interviewed them.

Asked if that was professional, Fellet replied: "Are you saying I should be concerned about them showing emotion? These guys are sports fans first and broadcasters second. What you see is what they are feeling on it."

When it was suggested that may compromise a presenter's objectivity, Fellet responded: "It might ... but we have you guys (other media) for the dispassionate coverage of sport."

Another presenter Dennis Katsanos has had a New Zealand flag draped around his shoulders while interviewing some athletes.

Stevenson's approach drew a tweet from veteran New Zealand broadcaster Keith Quinn that read: "Nice supportive TV interviews by Scotty Stevenson - and then he hugs the females! So that's where i went wrong! What's next? Man hugs?"

At the London Olympics in 2012, the BBC came under fire for the "touchy feely" approach by some of their reporters to British athletes.

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Fellet said Sky had "reinvented coverage" with their broad approach and he was "pretty happy" with the viewership from Glasgow, describing it as "quite a bit higher" than the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

- Stuff

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