Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

The "nuclear option" of streaming reality: Ask Australia's Optus

SBS to simulcast remaining group matches of World Cup Featured
Lora Ball | 22 June, 2018, 10:58

"We found that on Sunday night, the issue that we had was compounded by a failure in the critical part of our content-delivery network, and that made the experience for a large number of Australians worse than it was the previous night", Lew told ZDNet.

But the two broadcasters will now share the games for the rest of the group stage, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon.

SBS will also be broadcasting the semi-finals and the final.

Chief executive Allen Lew took a press call on Monday night to announce it would cede some of its exclusive FIFA World Cup broadcast rights to SBS for 48 hours as it worked to solve disruptions.

"SBS looks forward to continuing to simulcast the games, together with Optus over the next 10 days".

Unfortunately, things haven't been quite so peachy at Optus this week, and after struggling to get the World Cup broadcast streaming to its paid subscribers (and taking heat over it), it's handing the reigns over to SBS.

It would allow SBS to broadcast all games until the end of the group stage of the tournament.

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In a statement earlier today, Optus Chief Executive Officer Allen Lew said that Optus Sport has aired the last six matches on Optus Sport without issue.

"Confident as we are in our capability we have listened to the feedback from Australian soccer fans".

Customers who already purchased an Optus Sport subscription for the World Cup will receive a refund.

SBS began the World Cup with the right to show one game each day, in addition to all Australia games and every match from the quarter-finals onwards. "I offer an unreserved apology to those customers that have been let down".

If you wanted to watch games not being shown by SBS, you needed to buy into Optus' $15 per month "Optus Sport" package, which would get you a month of sport and happened to include the 2018 FIFA World Cup, among others.

SBS sub-licenced rights to Optus after it decided it could not afford to bid for the entire tournament as it had in the past. We want Australians to be able to experience the content we have on offer. "There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand ... everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly", an apologetic Mr Lew told reporters.

Optus officials remain confident their technical issues can be resolved by then, particularly with a lightened viewership load thanks to the SBS simulcasts. "We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight's games", added Lew.

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