Italian soccer’s Serie A has written to new domestic rights-holder DAZN after concerns over the technical quality of the OTT subscription platform’s coverage of matches this past weekend.
Several viewers issued complaints regarding the transmission that was distributed over the internet, with a terrestrial back-up channel only available for areas deemed to have insufficient broadband.
The sports streaming platform launched the new digital terrestrial channel in Italy last week and was available to DAZN subscribers in the event of any issues with its service.
Serie A chief executive Luigi Di Siervo has sought answers from DAZN after club presidents and fans expressed dissatisfaction with the streaming service’s signal instability, buffering and poor video quality.
DAZN has already explained that problems during the Inter Milan and Genoa match was caused by a traffic peak limited to a single CDN (Content Delivery Network) and was resolved quickly.
The OTT platform is in the first season of a three-year agreement in which it has rights to show all 10 matches weekly, seven on an exclusive basis.
The league is now seeking assurances from its broadcast partner that the glitches from the opening weekend of the new season will not continue.
Serie A’s rights contract states that those broadcasting the competition should meet “qualitive and commercial standards” that preserve the value of the league, the reputation of its audiovisual products, and the image of the league and its clubs.
DAZN has thus been invited to participate in a technical roundtable convened by the league.
Consumer association Codacons has also voiced its concerns, insisting that viewers should be compensated, while communications regulator Agcom has also asked for an explanation.
DAZN has put the issues down to an adjustment period with new technologies being introduced to show the top Italian league.
In a statement, DAZN said: "In recent months, new technologies have been implemented and important changes have been carried out, against which, already at the end of the first day, excellent results have been achieved such as the increase in the cumulative audience compared to previous years.
“We continue to work, continuing in constant dialogue and collaboration with the authority and partners, fundamental in this project of unprecedented change, as well as in the development and enhancement of Dazn Edge, the proprietary cache for traffic management and in the further process optimisation with global CDN.
“As in every phase of change, and as has already happened in the past, the introduction of new technologies of this magnitude requires a physiological moment of adjustment, a phase necessary to allow further improvements, fully expressing the incredible potential of streaming to the advantage of football, sport and the whole country and DAZN's commitment to this process is absolute and unconditional.”
This is the second instance in recent months that Serie A has had to seek assurances from DAZN over its service failures after users encountered a blackout of matches back in April.
At that time, DAZN revealed that responsibility for the problem lay with external partner Comcast Technology Solutions, a division of the US media giant, as viewers were unable to watch several top-flight matches.
Serie A also wrote to the OTT service last season wanting promises to "avoid similar episodes in the future" as that issue came just weeks after it had awarded live domestic rights to the company for the next three seasons.