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

23 June 2018

Optus Sport has extended the temporary shared streaming of FIFA World Cup matches with public broadcaster SBS until the end of the competition's group stage.

SBS originally onsold the World Cup broadcast rights to Optus Sport, with Fairfax Media reporting that deal was worth approximately $8 million. SBS looks forward to continuing to simulcast the games, together with Optus over the next ten days.

However, following persistent troubles, patchy reception and streaming issues on the Optus Sports app - which was the only way to view most of the World Cup - the telco relented on Monday and allowed SBS to broadcast games for 48 hours.

Chief executive Allen Lew was quoted as saying: "We, as Optus, have tried hard to deliver an exceptional viewing experience and deeply regret this has not been the case for all Australians". This has provided us with the confidence that out efforts have worked.

"The reason why we have announced what we did today is that the feedback from all Australians is that they want to have choice, so we've chose to listen to Australians and given them that choice, rather than forcing them to take our product, we have given them the choice to come to our product which we believe in".

The telco is also making Optus Sport free until August 31.

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.

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

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. "We want Australians to be able to experience the content we have on offer", Lew added.

"As part of the testing and end-to-end field testing of this product, we have made it more resilient and we are now confident that even when we open it up for free to all Australians we will have the capacity and capability to meet the needs of Australians".

Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has finalized a move to English Premier League club West Ham while on national-team duty at the World Cup.

Lew said the company will focus in the short-term on restoring trust with customers it disappointed.

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

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