SBS to broadcast all remaining World Cup matches after Optus issues

Optus has cited 'consumer choice' as its reason for sharing the broadcast of the FIFA World Cup with SBS for the remainder of the matches.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced that it will be sharing its streaming duties of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with public broadcaster SBS for the remainder of the tournament, with CEO Allen Lew saying the decision was made to put customers at the "forefront".

"Optus is here to push the boundaries of innovation in Australia and deliver choice to customers. We had technical issues with the Optus Sport service over the first weekend of the tournament, but we are confident that these issues have now been addressed," Lew said.

"Our customers and viewers have been the priority in our decision making, and that's why we have provided several ways to watch the matches, offered refunds, and introduced a range of measures to address the technical issues experienced by some Optus Sport viewers.

"Optus will continue to innovate and not waiver from our strategy of being a provider of premium content and the home of elite football in Australia."

According to Lew, subscriber numbers across Optus Sport have been rising regardless of the issues.

"We encourage people to download the Optus Sport App and give us a try," he added, with Optus Sport access free until August 31.

Lew had last week explained to ZDNet that the problem had been in the content-delivery network.

"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.

"So I think we've learned from that, and we've made sure that our network is a lot more resilient and able to handle failure in different parts in our content-delivery network."

The decision to share the FIFA World Cup broadcast with SBS until the end of the competition came a week after Optus said it would be sharing until the end of the group stages -- which itself came two days after the chief executive had said it would be sharing streaming with SBS for 48 hours while it repaired the issues.

In the original sub-licence deal with Optus, SBS retained shared broadcast rights for the semi-finals, third-place playoff, and final.

Optus' decision came after the telco faced a barrage of criticism for its World Cup coverage thus far.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also got involved, saying he had spoken to Lew about the matter.

"I have spoken with the Optus CEO, Allen Lew. He assures me he is giving the World Cup streaming problems his personal attention and he believes it will be fixed this evening," Turnbull tweeted last Monday.


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