Friday, 20 October 2017 12:52

Size matters after all: Telstra offers refunds for AFL Live Pass


After the ACCC raised concerns about Telstra's disclosure of the size of its viewing screen available on mobiles and tablets, the telco is "offering refunds to some AFL Live Pass app subscribers".

It turns out that size matters, even if what you do with it is to provide additional match stats. So, what's the background to this problem, which popped up on the ACCC's radar earlier this year?

Well, during the 2016 season, the ACCC (Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission) tells us that "live AFL matches appeared in full-screen on tablets".

However, on 31 January, Telstra "introduced a screen size restriction of seven inches for live matches, meaning games no longer appeared full screen on many tablets".

This led to concern about shrinkage of streamed content, with large screen size clearly a once-tentpole feature that has now somewhat deflated, with the smaller size display not delivering the visual punch that a full-screen display was previously capable of doing.

The problem has arisen because "the AFL Live Pass is advertised on the AFL website with images of AFL matches appearing full-screen on tablets. These images are accompanied by the text “Watch every AFL match live… on mobile and tablet”."

It's here that ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “The ACCC was concerned that footy fans may have subscribed or renewed subscriptions to the AFL Live Pass thinking that they could continue watching live AFL matches in full-screen on a tablet, when this was not the case.

“Some footy fans were locked into a Telstra subscription before the screen size restriction took effect. When businesses make changes to the subscription terms of goods or services, customers should be clearly notified of the change so people are able to make an informed decision about whether to continue their subscription," Sims added.

In August, prompted by the ACCC concerns, Telstra "offered refunds to consumers who were annual subscribers to the AFL Live Pass at 31 January, and who had downloaded the AFL Live Pass on a tablet".

"People who purchased the AFL Live Pass app may still obtain a refund by filling in an application form on Telstra’s Crowd Support website.

"The form will be available until 22 March 2018. After that date, consumers can still contact Telstra to request a refund. Telstra is only offering the refund to annual subscribers who downloaded the AFL Live Pass prior to 31 January 2017 and accessed the service on a tablet."

Here's some background that the ACCC has provided:

"The AFL Live Pass app is operated by Telstra subject to a licensing agreement with the AFL. It allows consumers to stream AFL matches live on supported mobile and tablet devices.

"Consumers can purchase a weekly, monthly or annual subscription to the AFL Live Pass. Subscriptions will automatically renew if a consumer does not opt out. Eligible Telstra mobile customers are given free access to the AFL Live Pass for one season.

"After the screen size restriction was introduced, matches streamed live with the AFL Live Pass on a tablet larger than seven inches appear in a seven inch format surrounded by black borders or match statistics. The first image below is a screenshot from the AFL website of a full screen tablet."

Above: AFL website screenshot from desktop computer: 18 October.

Below is a screenshot of a live AFL match taken from an iPad with a 9.7 inch display.


iPad screenshot: 20 August.

The AFL website also includes an image of an AFL match on a tablet larger than seven inches surrounded by match statistics.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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