Communications service providers are looking for new ways to gain an edge in today's competitive market. In sports-crazed New Zealand, one of the country's largest telecom providers just launched an all-sports video service to attract new subscribers. Spark Sport is a new over-the-top (OTT) offering arriving just in time for Rugby World Cup 2019. And according to Diluk de Silva, Service Quality & Distribution Lead at Spark New Zealand, New Zealand has more rugby fans per square mile than any other country in the world!
I sat down with Diluk at Akamai EdgeWorld 2019 to learn about Spark Sport, and was quite impressed by the variety of content and features available with the new service. Spark has signed deals with some of the biggest brands in the sporting world including Formula 1 racing, English Premier League football and NBA basketball. Of course, the Spark Sport app runs on mobile phones, tablets and PCs, but you can also watch on your big screen television using Google Chromecast or Apple TV. And the app is available for several Smart TVs as well.
Diluk says Spark is trying to fundamentally change the way Kiwis consume sports programming. With Spark Sport you can stream live events, pause and rewind the action, switch seamlessly between devices and replay recorded content on-demand. The service is affordably priced to attract cord-cutters who want to watch TV on their own terms.
Delivering high-quality user experiences--any device, anytime, anywhere--will be absolutely critical for success. To that end, Spark is working with a variety of technology partners, including Akamai, to ensure high scalability, performance and reliability for the new offering. And it will all be put to the test in September with the provider's first major pay-per-view event--the Rugby World Cup, broadcast live from Japan.
To learn how Spark is preparing for the Rugby World Cup and hear Diluk's tips for successfully launching an OTT service, please watch our entire conversation on Akamai TV.
Tara Bartley is a senior marketing manager for Akamai's Media & Carrier business.