Seven confident of ‘bug-free consumer experience’ as Paralympic app is launched

Seven West Media has launched a new app for the Paralympic Games with the network confident there will be no repeat of the defects which hampered live-streaming during the Olympics.

The chief digital officer at Seven, Clive Dickens, said that unlike the Olympics app, the Paralympic version has been built entirely in-house, which should ensure sports fans have a glitch-free experience.

Dickens admitted that Seven possibly regretted not taking similar ownership of the Olympic technology.

The comments came as Dickens acknowledged that offering a poor service – even if for only a handful of people – was “not a good outcome”.

While reiterating the app flaws during the Rio Games were not the fault of Seven, the “consumer does not care” who is to blame and merely wants a quality experience, Dickens said.

As part of its rights package, Seven, along with broadcasters in 14 other countries, shared a “global product road map” for the app that was engineered and operated by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS).

“Those hard-working teams experienced some service level issues across the first couple of days,” Dickens said. “We could have taken it in-house, and maybe we wish we had done, but not every company can do everything at every moment.

“Sometimes it’s good to own and operate yourself, and sometimes it’s beneficial to be part of a global road map. Sharing resources with 14 other rights-holder broadcasters appeared to be more beneficial but we experienced challenges we did not anticipate.”

Clive Dickens has been appointed to the Newzulu board

Dickens: the “consumer does not care” who is to blame and merely wants a quality experience

He said the “vast majority” of the two to three million Australians who streamed live content had a “bug free experience”, and suggested the number who did not – largely Android users – had to be put in context.

“Even if 1% of the 2-3m who did some form of streaming complained, that would still be quite a noisy conversation on social media and in our call centres but it has to be put in the context of scale,” he said.

“But we are very conscious that a small number of our audience, particularly in the initial few days, did not get the experience that we promised. Whether it’s 10, 110,00 or 10,010, that is not a good outcome and it’s important that we understand how we can do better.”

Dickens said he had been targeting 40m streams across the Olympics and Paralympics, with the network only 2m short with the Paralympics to come.

“In terms of our objectives it had no impact whatsoever,” he said.

The Paralympic app has been “inspired” by the 7Tennis app, Dickens added, which was built in-house and used by 1.5m Australians during the tennis championships in January “without any material problems at all”.

The app, called 7Live, will feature live streams, highlights and video on demand. Unlike the Olympic app there will be no premium product largely because the event is smaller.

He reiterated the comments of chief revenue officer, Kurt Burnette, who said content delivered across multi-platforms will not be limited to sport.


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