Amazon wins Premier League rights, Optus apologises over World Cup streaming

Amazon has successfully bought the UK rights to broadcast 20 Premier League matches a season, beginning in time for the 2019 season. The business which already includes retail, cloud computing, e-books as well as internet streaming made a successful bid for unsold games and has not yet made any announcement as to how much has been paid, however, the BBC has valued the total at £4.5b.

In order to watch games broadcast by Amazon users will need an Amazon Prime membership, allowing access to the total video streaming service including all television and films hosted on the service. Users can watch matches on their smart mobile devices or smart TV.

In Australia, Optus will have exclusive rights over live matches going into the 2019 season, following on from its semi-exclusive coverage of the World Cup which kicked off last week.

Our take

The Amazon deal is a landmark one for internet streaming services, especially given the Premier League is considered by many as the world’s top flight of football. Amazon will attract plenty of new customers and has strategically targeted the Christmas period, buying the rights to all games on the popular 26-December bank holiday fixture. Viewers, who will require a subscription to Prime service to watch games, will be enticed with further offers, fast shipping and the Prime video offering which includes exclusive content.

However, Optus has come under scrutiny for its coverage of the FIFA World Cup over the weekend, the subscription-based streaming service experiencing technical issues and resulting in an announcement yesterday that SBS would stream all matches for 48 hours or until Optus resolved their technical issues. Poor service, along with the introduction of a hard online paywall is a potential barrier for viewers, lessening access to their passion and where sporting codes are treading a fine line in ensuring they remain fan-first.

While new competition in the broadcast market is welcome, the level of expertise and experience that traditional broadcasters have is invaluable to the viewer. It will be up to Amazon to ensure they deliver a quality service in order to meet these challenges and retain this new audience of football fans.

Peter Quattrocelli

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