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Mike's Minute: Spark Sport is crap, they've failed abysmally

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Monday, 23 September 2019, 10:09AM

COMMENT:

Spark's problem is two-fold. One, a lot of people don't get streaming and don't want to get it.

Spark, by buying the rights to our most important sporting event, have created a problem and told us to fix it. The fact there were only 120,000 streams of the All Blacks game tells you all you need to know about what a bust this is.

All Black tests depending on time, importance, and so on, should be at least 500,000 streams. So the big winner here will be TVNZ and their free to air offering.

And two, the fact Spark are clearly not up to it. They should spent less time with press releases and making excuses (like 'it only affected a small number of people' or it wasn't their fault, it was someone offshore). This is 2019.

I have a very good TV, I have very good internet, and I have paid my money. Spark failed, and failed abysmally, and I wasn't even one of the punters who got pixelation and buffering.

Well I was, but that was earlier when i was watching Fiji and Australia. But for the All Blacks test I got clarity, fuzzy, clarity, fuzzy.

So let's just call it for what it is: It's crap, its unacceptable, it isn't good enough, and we aren't up for it. It doesn't work.

This is, as we have said now for months and Lord knows how many times, too important to play experimental TV with. You want to stream sport? Stream specialist stuff until you know what you're doing.

As a punter I am not getting what I paid for - it's a breach of contract. Spark must have known in the lead-up to this that things were shaky. And here's the irony: doesn't Sky look good now eh?

And that's the interesting question here, this is a free market failure. Brilliant to have the rights up for grabs, it's huge money, and the money goes to the sport.

But with Sky asleep at the wheel, and this country with no anti-siphoning protection for major sporting event, a late to the party try-hard like Spark can reach into their telco-backed pockets, grab the rights - and then blow it by not being good enough.

Politically this is Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters' moment. New Zealand First has backed anti-siphoning legislation for years. They haven't been able to get support, this might well change thing.

This is a Government looking to potentially mess with TVNZ, Radio New Zealand and Māori Television in some sort of public broadcaster type fashion. Free to air sport would suit the plan down to the ground.

And that's the great shame in the Spark mess, they are trying to change the way we view sport and that's fine, it's even brave.

But when you're doing it with our most valuable of assets, the All Blacks, you simply have to be up for it, or go home and let someone else with the skills do it properly.

Part of the exercise is the sales pitch. Streaming, it's no big deal and in six weeks you'll love it, that's the goal.

Day one, they've blown it.

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