ADD decides honesty the best policy

ADD claims its World Cup subscription woes are over and is offering free viewing time to customers as a way of saying sorry for the problems

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By  David Ingham Published  June 12, 2002

ADD, the holder of World Cup broadcast rights for the Middle East, claims it has now successfully dealt with the problems viewers were having with their World Cup subscriptions.

As a way of saying sorry, ADD is giving subscribers to the ADD ‘Gold’ package one month’s free viewing. Subscribers to smaller packages will receive the Gold package free for a limited time.

Monal Zeidan, MD at Zeidan Consultancy, ADD’s PR agent, told ITP.net that the problems were 50% due to the Nilesat satellite and 50% to the fact that viewers were not aware of how to use decoders properly. As a result, viewers that could not get their channels swamped ADD call centres and were unable to get through to an attendant who could advise them on how to fix the problems.

It has been noted that whilst the problems are not good for ADD’s image, it has at least faced up to them publicly rather than trying to ignore them. Zeidan says that he has encouraged his client to pursue a policy of openness from the start. “As far as the whole PR strategy goes, I’m advising ADD to be as honest as possible,” he says.

ADD had hoped to sign up 150,000 households on the back of the World Cup at a price of Dhs/SR 199 a time. In order to try to avoid a last minute surge in people signing up, which ADD knew might overwhelm its call centres, it earlier ran a campaign called ‘Early Bird.’

The campaign offered certain benefits to viewers that signed up well ahead of the World Cup. The campaign did not achieve the desired results because people assumed that all games would be shown on terrestrial channels.

ADD won’t confirm reports that it paid $60 million for World Cup broadcast rights, but Zeidan is confident that the 150,000 figure will be reached despite the problems. Zeidan also believes that ADD is on target to achieve its revenue goals this year, although it’s not known if the company aims to achieve profitability this year.

ADD’s World Cup woes are not the only problems the fast-growing operator has had. Viewers have been unable to access content before, particularly when ADD introduced channels from Asia’s Star TV earlier this year. Again, ADD’s call centres could not deal with an overwhelming volume of calls.

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