Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Optus streaming woes continue as it hands more exclusive games to SBS

Optus streaming woes continue as it hands more exclusive games to SBS

SBS will broadcast World Cup matches on free-to-air TV until the end of the group stage on June 29, and Optus will offer refunds to people who paid $15 to subscribe to its exclusive service as the fallout from the telco's disastrous foray into exclusive broadcasting right continues.

Telecommunications company Optus bought the broadcast rights for most World Cup games in Russian Federation but technical issues with the live streaming in Australia caused a major backlash from subscription buyers - to the point where the prime minister had to intervene.

The company's streaming problems had left many fans venting online, and even led to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stepping in, taking to Twitter to say he had personally contacted the chief executive.

"Since Monday, Optus has delivered the last six matches without issue", said Allen Leo, Chief Executive Officer at Optus.

Late on June 19th Optus chose to abandon its OTT delivery completely.

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"This has provided us with the confidence we needed to reassure the Australian public that we have got this and that our efforts have worked", Lew said.

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

After that, Optus' Sport app and service will still be free, featuring the games SBS won't be airing, and providing free sport until August 31, well after the 2018 World Cup has finished.

Moutter says the issue that Optus encountered was a learning opportunity for Spark but remained confident that time was on their side to get things ready before games start in September next year. The backlash forced Optus to hand over its transmissions to rival conventional national public broadcaster SBS for free-to-air re-transmission.

Lew said thousands of customers continue to sign up to Optus Sport.

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Lew said that the problems with the Optus Sports service on Sunday night had been compounded by a failure in a "critical part of our content delivery network", making "the experience for a large number of Australians worse than it was the previous night".

With football fans in an uproar, Optus chose to share 48 hours of full World Cup coverage with SBS on Monday, who were willing to take on the extra broadcasts at short notice.

Mr Lew said in the short term the company will work on restoring trust with those customers who have had a poor experience.

"We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight's games", he said.

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