DAZN faces Italian backlash over plans to tighten accounts policy

Plans by DAZN to clamp down on suspected abuses of subscriptions have prompted a backlash in Italy where the sports streaming service shows top flight soccer.

Backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, DAZN this year won the rights to screen Serie A live matches in Italy for three seasons with a 2.5 billion euro ($2.9 billion) bid, a significant expansion of its business in Europe.

The group’s flat-rate deals to view premium sports via smart TVs have undercut pricier pay-TV packages offered by established broadcasters but users have complained about outages and poor picture quality.

For its part, DAZN is concerned that some Italian soccer fans are exploiting a loophole to share access to accounts, depriving the company of revenue from monthly subscriptions costing 29.99 euros ($34.7).

DAZN will implement technical changes by the end of the year to prevent two different devices simultaneously accessing the app if they are not logged into the same IP address, two sources familiar with the matter said.

According to existing DAZN terms of service, every subscriber has the right to access the service from two different devices simultaneously without sharing the username and password.

The plans to tighten access to accountshave irked consumer rights groups and politicians, prompting Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti to summon the DAZN management for clarification next week.

“This is another big blow to the fans,” said Carlo Claps, president of consumer lobby Aidacon, which announced it would file a complaint with the national communications watchdog.

The company said it was “open to cooperation and discussion with the authorities and institutions”.

($1 = 0.8648 euros)