Optus EPL Disaster Described As “PR Balls UP”
A leading industry executive has described the recent Optus English Premier League announcement by Optus as a “complete PR balls up”.
They claim that the carrier’s PR department are to blame for the massive backlash that came about after the Company announced new packages last week.
They said that the announcement was handled “poorly” however they doubt that when the games go live that fans will not sign up for the new service.
A survey among English Premier League soccer fans reveal that many Australians are now looking to VPN into overseas coverage of the EPL from either New Zealand or the UK.
Based on last week’s announcement made by Optus, who paid $65M to win the contract over from Foxtel, fans will effectively be locked out from subscribing unless they have a long term contract with the telco.
Foxtel responded by signing up the TV networks of six leading EPL clubs with games set to be broadcast hours shortly after the live games.
Under siege from both consumers and media outlets Optus PR Optus sent a statement suggesting that not all fans were unhappy with its plans, and that potential customers were being given plenty of options.
“We’re always interested in consumer feedback and we’ve received a range of responses over the last 24 hours,” the statement said.
Internally management are believed to be “furious” as to the way in which the Optus PR department handled the announcement. “Heads will roll said a senior executive close to the decision making process.
“Optus is offering EPL on a range of plans to suit different viewing preferences and budget. If a fan doesn’t wish to join Optus for their broadband service, there are a range of options.” the Company said.
Fans have been given the option of signing up to a 24-month post-paid mobile plan and then paying $15 per month for EPL and $5 a month for a mini set top box as its most “cost effective” option for watching on a TV screen.
However, many customers looking to take up that option, would either face additional charges for breaking off existing mobile contracts with other providers, or need to have two phone plans.
Hundreds of fans claim that the plan is trying to force customers to sign up to its broadband or mobile plans unfairly.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that they have already received several complaints from consumers claiming that Optus was breaching regulations.
At this stage the ACCC is of the opinion that Optus is operating fairly and that they have a right to make the “offer they are making”.
“As we understand this we do not see any breaches of competition laws or any other rules we administer,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims told The Financial Review.
ACCC guidelines state businesses are free to set their prices and discount their goods and services as they see fit, as long as they set their prices independently of their competitors.
For advertising a company must present prices to customers in a way that states the total price of the good or service as a single figure, which is the minimum total cost that is able to be calculated.