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Spark Sport CEO says company 'learning' and 'adapting' to new technology after Rugby World Cup streaming issues

Spark Sport says sports streaming is the future and part of last night's Rugby World Cup coverage issues are down to the provider "learning" how to provide the new service.

Poor video quality reported in the first 15 minutes of the Rugby World Cup pool match between the All Blacks and the Springboks forced Spark Sport to provide a simulcast of the match on TVNZ DUKE.

At this time, Spark Sport have confirmed it was a problem from the overseas company which was providing the live stream into New Zealand and not any issue with Spark Sport’s platform.

Jolie Hodson, Spark CEO, told 1 NEWS today that new technology meant the provider needed to have a back-up plan.

"It's new technology, we know lots of people are learning how to use that new technology and therefore we had that back-up plan already identified," she said.

"We could see there were a number of devices that were being impacted and we've always made the decision coming into the tournament that we would switch if we saw any kind of issue that impacted customers."

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Coverage of the All Blacks vs South Africa match was simulcast on TVNZ DUKE. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Hodson said Spark could tell which type of devices were affected last night but not how many.

In response to public criticism, she defended the coverage provided and maintained sports streaming is the future of how sports will be viewed.

"Many of our customers saw a great experience and I think part of this is about us learning and continuing to adapt the service we provide," she said.

Ms Hodson said after tonight's matches, Spark Sport will go back to using its own coverage, however still having TVNZ Duke as a back-up if streaming issues are encountered again.

Pixilated television screen from the coverage of the All Blacks versus Springboks game streamed on Spark Sport last night. Source: rnz.co.nz

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi earlier told 1 NEWS Kiwis expect better delivery.

“We will leave it to Spark to answer the concerns around last night, but we are happy there was the contingency with TVNZ’s Duke channel and that it kicked in for viewers when Spark Sport identified issues.

“We will let Spark go through their technical process before we make any further comment, but it is obvious that with an event like this Kiwis expect better delivery than last night,” he said.

In a statement earlier today, Spark Sport said refunds will be available for customers who feel unhappy with their viewing experience of last night's match.

"Customers who purchased an All Blacks vs South Africa Match Pass can receive a full refund; those who purchased a Tournament Pass and wish to leave the service can also receive a full refund; and those who wish to carry on with the service, can receive a partial 15 per cent refund of their Tournament Pass price.

"Unhappy customers who have activated a Spark Sport subscription via a voucher code can also receive a full or partial refund," the statement said.

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Jolie Hodson says the provider always had a back-up plan if there was an inappropriate experience for customers. Source: 1 NEWS