Optus Brings the Olympics in 4K

Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

The Tokyo Olympic Games are coming up next year in 2020, and those wanting to watch in 4K definition will need to be Optus 5G customers. The telco is part of a general push toward diversifying the content available to customers in a bid to draw people to their brand.

Optus in particular has had mixed success with this strategy, so it remains to be seen how lucrative the deal will be for the telco.

Devising a Drawcard

Phone plans are beginning to become cheaper and more inclusive, which means that the major telcos have to strategise in order to make their products stand out. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have risen in number to compete against the so called “Big Three” infrastructure holders, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

These MVNOs pay to use the infrastructure of the major telcos to provide mobile services at a discounted price. They are able to do that by avoiding a lot of the expenses that the major telcos rely on – no brick and mortar stalls, limited advertising, bare bones staffing etc.

Clearly the big brands won’t win on pricing alone, so they need to look elsewhere. Brand recognition is a major drawcard, as many people trust the bigger name. Sponsorship and the physical presence of stores is another source of customers, as well as the ability to offer tech and devices from major brands as part of a long term contract.

Going with Content

The most recent change has been the introduction of exclusive content – particularly sporting content – to customers. Optus was among the first with their purchase of the rights to broadcast the English Premier League, which in the beginning required fans to sign up for a contract in order to gain access to the games. The FIFA World Cup was also broadcast by Optus.

With a fiercely loyal football following, Optus guaranteed themselves new customers, but with many unhappy with both the service and some major broadcasting errors that meant fans missed vital parts of their matches. However with some quick make-up moves and a new system that means customers no longer have to sign up for a long contract to access content, fans are slowly starting to warm up.

The Tokyo Games

The Olympic Games will be broadcast by the Channel Seven Network, so again Optus has found a different angle – 4K. They have been a long term sponsor of the Olympic Games, so the move to offer exclusive streaming content is unsurprising. The partnership was recently announced, with Optus making the games available in 4K definition to Optus 5G Home Broadband customers who have a Fetch Mighty set top box and a 4K capable TV.

These Olympic games will be especially appealing to Australian residents, as the time difference of only an hour in some regions will make the events more accessible.

Changes at Optus

Optus’s continued investment in content has interesting timing as they have recently announced a change in their CEO. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if the strategy of investing in content remains in place.

The EPL contract that Optus took from Foxtel in a move that was surprising at the time will soon be up for renewal. Their interest is no longer a surprise, which has meant that numerous other parties could also now be keying up to make a bid. That could push the price up past what Optus can afford.

The 4K Olympics

Optus’s strategy will be great for those who are in the target audience, but realistically it’s a fairly niche crowd and unlikely to draw many people who weren’t already signed up or planning to sign up. There are very few fans who are diehard enough to sign up to a 5G broadband service solely to watch the Olympic games in 4K. However, it could draw attention to the existence of Optus 5G home broadband services.

Optus 5G Home Broadband promises minimum speeds of 50 Mbps, but some users have reported speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which is vital for high definition streaming. However, with so many people tuning in across Australia at the same time, customers who are 4K fans will be hoping that Optus have their streaming issues sorted this time around.

Offering content is a strategy that provides real incentive for customers to change brands, and successful services are a great way to ensure loyalty. However, when things go wrong, fans are liable to hold the company responsible. Optus has chosen to offer content as a drawcard, and hopefully now have enough experience to ensure high quality streaming without issues. Whether recent changes in Optus leadership will mean they continue with this strategy or look elsewhere remains to be seen.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.