DAZN CEO upfront with service problems

DAZN CEO James Rushton has probably had better days in his career, but the leader of the new sports streaming service who has exclusive NFL rights in Canada, is at least being transparent and open to the issues facing the company.

The U.K.-based DAZN wants to be the Netflix for sports, but it’s initial kick at the can with the NFL Sunday Ticket, which shows every out of market NFL match up on Sundays, produced a less than stellar result as fans had to sit through delayed feeds, bad audio and service skipping. Not good if your favourite team was facing a fourth and one and they were going for it.

However, Rushton owned up to the missteps and extended a sincere apology that impacted DAZN’s launch.

“We have been working with our technical team to inform a review of the entire customer experience since we launched. I recognize this has been a frustrating time for many of our subscribers and want to reiterate our commitment to fixing the current issues. In additional to the solutions already identified, we are continuing to explore further ways to improve the experience for those affected,” Rushton said in a prepared statement.

He also promised to reveal in a week’s time what the compensation plan would be to DAZN subscribers.

In Canada, Alex Rice, DAZN’s managing director of rights and strategic development, said on its Canadian launch that the debut in Canada did not go as planned.

“No excuses – it is not how we wanted our journey to start in a country of such passionate fans. Our top priority has been getting to the root cause of the issues and giving fans the viewing experience they expect from us. We have reviewed the entire customer experience so far and can confirm that many of the issues subscribers faced last weekend have been resolved,” Rice added.

Tech in Sports interviewed Rice on the Tech in Sports Podcast. Listen here: Tech in Sports Podcast Episode 6.

Rice also provided an update on the DAZN service issues from their launch.

The audio issue on Thursday, and the late start to the Colts @ Rams game on Sunday were the result of human error.  Rice said that these are not ongoing issues and DAZN put in place additional checks and measures to strengthen this process.

The error codes subscribers were seeing have been resolved.

As for the picture quality issues, Rice said DAZN completed detailed diagnostic analysis and found that while the majority of fans are connecting to DAZN in HD, some have been unable to enjoy the games in full HD experience due to connectivity issues. DAZN has been working as hard as possible to bring this to everyone and they have identified a number of technical solutions, which will help more subscribers to access the full HD experience across all connected devices. Some solutions will be in place beginning this weekend.

Rice added that DAZN will be making further enhancements over the next few weeks, during which time those affected will see incremental improvements.

Some subscribers have also been experiencing a broadcast time lag. While an element of lag is inherent with OTT (over the top) streaming (usually up to 30 secs), Rice said the company knows the feed has been delayed longer at times.  Again, DAZN is working to close this gap.

“We feel your pain,” Rice said.  “We will continue to engage with our subscribers and the broader sports fan community in Canada to listen and understand the issues.  We’re continuing to explore further ways to improve the experience for those currently affected and will be reaching out to them to ensure they’re suitably compensated. Live streaming of sports is complex, but offers many benefits. We’re committed to fixing the current issues and delivering on our goal of providing the best sports viewing experience possible for Canadian fans.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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