DAZN Streaming Snags sparks outrage in Italy, swift repayment action
Billionaire Len Blavatnik’s live sports streaming service DAZN, who recently secured the television rights to all live Serie A soccer matches in Italy for the next three seasons, has come under criticism across the country after a series of technical blackouts.
These have now prompted DAZN to offer a one-month refund to subscribers who request it.
The ongoing streaming issues are believed to be caused by Italy’s inadequate broadband infrastructure, which has caused some of Europe’s slowest average internet speeds. The hiccups have interrupted several games since August 21, when Serie A, which is Italy’s premier soccer league, first started. The “blackouts” of the DAZN service, as the Italian press calls them, sparked protests from consumer organizations in the country, as well as an investigation by the Italian media regulator.
In March, DAZN announced a â¬$ 2.5 billion ($ 2.8 billion) deal for Serie A rights in partnership with streaming platform TimVision from Telecom Italia, a local telecommunications company, a move that broke 20 years of the Sky Italia pay-TV service in Serie A. The hit was nicknamed by DAZN as “one of the biggest sports streaming offerings in history.”
But now, with the echo of protests from enraged sports fans all the way to the Italian parliament, where the issue was raised, and the national communications authority Agcom opening an investigation and monitoring DAZN’s commitment to strengthen its infrastructure, one wonders if the disruptive corporate coup d’etat – which marked the first time a streamer had landed the exclusive rights to a major national league in its home territory – could backfire on you.
At the end of last week, after the umpteenth blockage that lasted several minutes on the DAZN application during the matches between Napoli and Sampdoria and Lazio and Turin, the company issued a press release apologizing to fans and conceding that he would offer compensation in the form of a one-month expense refund to all affected subscribers.
But the bigger question is how long that can last and if another kind of option for Italian Serie A fans may be in sight.
“It’s definitely Telecom Italia’s fault,” said Francois Godard, senior media and telecommunications analyst for Enders Analysis, who believes the streaming problems are solvable in the long run.
“It’s just that [at present] It doesn’t look good, from a business point of view from a marketing point of view, âGodard adds, noting thatâ when you have technological problems, people don’t rush to buy your product.
Italian press reports estimate that since its summer launch, the number of DAZN app subscribers on the TimVision platform is now below 600,000, which is considered a slow start given their initial plan is to reach 1.5 million subscribers on TimVision over the next three years. and Italian football fans are an already existing base.
According to Godard, there is a realistic prospect that market forces in Italy could eventually force DAZN and Telecom Italia to forgo their Serie A exclusivity and form a partnership with Sky, which transmits mainly via satellite – a configuration that has emerged. proved to be more fluid. for Italian viewers.
Sky, he asserts, “is the obvious partner of DAZN”, with whom, until this season, DAZN had a Serie A alliance which had resulted in a total of 1.8 million subscribers for DAZN, of which 60% via Sky.
Meanwhile, DAZN – who declined to comment for this article – is said to be in advanced talks to buy BT Sport, British Telecom’s sports TV unit through which it would get premium content, including English Premier League football, which BT spent billions of pounds to break Sky holds UK sport