Optus Falls Apart Under World Cup Pressure

Television and telecommunications company “Optus” recently faced a serious blow to their reputation after it’s FIFA World Cup streaming services failed to deliver high-quality viewing over the weekend on the 16th and 17th of June. The company has issued a quick response apologizing for several problems all the way from low-quality streams to playback issues and buffering problems. The Twitter page features an apology directly from CEO Allen Lew.

Following a quick planning session, Lew revealed that the six games ready to appear on the Optus Sports application would need to be on a free-to-air system with the TV network SBS. Lew referred to the change in viewing patterns to a failsafe option and said that he and the company would get to work immediately on sorting the issues out.

Damage to the Optus Brand?

The question for investors and stakeholders is what does this mean for the Optus brand? There’s no doubt that the Optus name has taken a hit after fans agreeing to sign up for an impressive $15 World Cup package were unable to watch their games over the weekend. CEO Allen Lew issued a heartfelt apology to Australian fans, but the scandal continues to cultivate anger from sports fans.

Considering many Australians consider streaming to be the future of live sport broadcasting, the scandal from the World Cup games has already attracted the attention of the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission). The organization announced that they are currently looking for further information from Optus outlining the steps the group is taking to comply with consumer law.

Now that SBS is taking over as the ultimate streaming channel for the World Cup, Optus can focus all of its attention on preparing a counter-attack to improve the relationship it has with its customers. It seems that the organization will need to start working on a long-term strategy immediately if they want any chance of being competitive again.

Repairing Broken Bridges

Aside from passing the game rights over to a different broadcaster to ensure that Australian fans get access to the games they most want to watch, Optus is also taking additional steps to improve the experience they give their fans. For instance, Optus announced a free Sports Streaming offer for all Australian customers until the end of August. While some consumers are pleased with the gift, analysts suggest that the company had no choice but to make the offer.

It’s critical for telco companies today to win and keep their subscribers, and this mishap is sure to be something that harms the number of loyal customers Optus has access too. The free streaming offer should help to earn back a few customers, or at least help them to get over the anger they feel regarding the streaming problems. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Australian Consumer Law demands better from Optus.

The consumer law indicates that all services and goods provided by a company should be of a good quality, and capable of living up to the promises the seller makes. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for the consumers who experienced repeated slow-quality streaming and dropouts.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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