Thursday, 28 June 2018 15:56

SBS to simulcast round of 16, q-finals of World Cup with Optus Featured

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Optus has decided to simulcast the remaining matches of the World Cup exclusive to its Optus Sport service — the round of 16 and the quarter-finals — with public broadcaster SBS.

In a statement, Optus chief executive Allen Lew said customers were the main reason for this decision. The company is believed to have paid something in the region of $9 million to show the entire World Cup.

“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.

"All of us at Optus will use what we have learned from this experience to place ourselves ahead in the delivery of content to customers via streaming to their mobile devices."

The telco had obtained the rights to stream all 64 games, while SBS was to show all games involving Australia, one match a day on other days, the semi-finals and the final.

But on 19 June, Optus said that SBS would simulcast games over the next two nights, due to technical difficulties it had faced.

The next day, Optus was forced to ask SBS to simulcast the remaining group games as well.

Lew said when entering new broadcast territory, opportunities were as big as the risks.

“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," he said.

Despite the World Cup simulcast arrangement, Australians had continued to tune into Optus Sport and subscriber numbers had continued to rise, Lew claimed.

The last group matches, pitting England against Belgium and Panama against Tunisia, both in Group G, are scheduled to be played at 4am AEST on Friday. The round of 16 is set to start on 1 July.

Optus has offered refunds to all those who paid the $15 monthly fee it had charged for its World Cup coverage.

It has also made its Optus Sport service free to all Australians until 31 August.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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