Optus aims to 'disrupt the market' with EPL offer

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 17 May 2016

Optus' acting managing director of marketing and product division, Ben White, has defended the telco's divisive English Premier League strategy after it drew ire from some passionate local football fans.

White told Fairfax's Australian Financial Review that he believed this was the right path for the business to follow and reiterated that the brand won’t budge on its stance that you have to be an Optus customer to enjoy content it has the rights to offer.

"Clearly EPL fans are very passionate, we totally understand that, but we are trying to do something here to disrupt the market and we knew and expected that there will always be people that don't like change," White told the AFR.

"We are not moving away from the principle that you have to be an Optus customer to get access to exclusive content from us. In the telco market one of our rivals positions itself as having the network, others position themselves around attractive prices …we are very deliberately trying to stand apart in the market in offering exclusive content to Optus customers," he added.

This is a position that chief executive for the business, Allan Lew, first raised yesterday also telling the AFR saying that these rights are a key differentiator for the telco, adding: “I cannot move away from that principle."

Earlier this month, Optus revealed that it would be offering its customers EPL coverage for an additional $15 a month and as that news hit social media, almost immediately fans started voicing their concerns over the move.

At the time, White said that: “While you’ll need to be an Optus customer to get all the EPL action, Optus research shows that close to two in three (63%) football fans, who are not already Optus customers, are out of contract for at least one of their fixed broadband or mobile services."

"We’re confident that when these fans see our range of great value EPL-ready plans, they’ll be convinced that now’s the right time to switch. And for those not quite ready to make that extra commitment, we also have a great postpaid BYO mobile plan that will provide access to the EPL."

As part of its EPL rights package, Optus also scored the rights to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and White told the AFR that when that rolls around he believes fans will have a clear idea about what Optus is planning in the market, so its offerings should be less controversial at that stage.

"Obviously the World Cup is still a couple of years away, and I think the market's understanding of what it is we are offering will be clearer ... and people will have a much greater appreciation for what we are doing at that point in time," White said.

"We will also have a road map of the way that we are going to offer content over time, so we could be in a very different world by the time we get to the next World Cup in 2018."

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