In this opinion piece, NewsMediaWorks MD Charlie Murdoch (pictured below) tackles Optus’ streaming woes and the trust gap between consumers and institutions.
This week’s abject failure by Optus Sport to deliver on a promise to sports fans brings into sharp focus – and not for the first time this year – the trust gap between consumers and institutions.
For fans, this once-every-four-year festival of football is unmissable viewing. Optus Sport holds the exclusive rights for most World Cup matches, so for fans eager to get in on the action, they had to stream online… which they couldn’t.
As they say in the classics, trust takes years to build and seconds to be destroyed.
Now, I’m no I.T aficionado but given this is a pay-per-view product vs free entry at the gate, I don’t think it takes Galileo to forecast the intense demand on Optus’ servers during certain periods across the tournament.
The result was outraged customers and a ‘please explain’ from the Prime Minster.
It would be unfair to heap criticism on the good folk at Optus scrambling to find a solution, but from the bleaches, this appears to be yet another PR crisis that could, and should, have been avoided.
Late on Monday evening, Optus announced that SBS – who initially sold the rights to the telco – would come to their rescue and broadcast the Optus’ licenced games for free.
That decision by Optus, 48 hours into the crisis, finally put the customer first.
Optus now has an unwanted but not unfamiliar challenge on their hands – how to rebuild consumer trust in their network and products.
It’s well-worn tale territory for brands that over-promise and under-deliver, or in some way breach the trust or expectation of their customers.
So far, in 2018 alone, we’ve seen some high profile brands around the globe embark on advertising campaigns to apologise to their customers and their investors.
Three that spring to mind include Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, KFC in the UK after running out of chicken and most recently NAB in Australia when their business network went down.
All examples where brands failed to meet the expectations of their customers.
It’s no surprise that all three companies turned to full-page newspaper ads to apologise and leverage the inherent trust readers have with their favourite news brand to rebuild trust in their own.
Numerous studies, from Edelman’s Trust Barometer, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018 or Galaxy Research’s local ‘The Company You Keep’ studies all show consumers have high trust in newspapers and news website, and low trust in social media.