ITV’s Mobile Rugby Strategy Falls Over On Opening Day

ITV’s Rugby World Cup strategy for mobile was tackled in to touch Friday morning when its dedicated mobile app failed to materialise and its alternative mobile web stream did not work.

The UK broadcaster had planned a new dedicated iPhone app, funded by a big IBM sponsorship, through which users could watch live match streams and highlights.

But, as the tournament opened in Auckland with a ceremony and host New Zealand’s match against Tonga, there was no sign of the app. “Our app hasn’t launched into the store as we anticipated,” an ITV (LSE: ITV) spokesperson tells paidContent. “We’re currently working this through with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and should be resolved soon.”

It’s not clear what the hold-up is. Apple can be notoriously difficult at app approval stage – though no publisher likes to be seen saying as much (for the record, ITV hasn’t suggested anything of the sort).

With the tournament being held in New Zealand, all the matches are broadcast during either the small hours or during the morning in the UK, when most people are away from their home TV.

An alternative for mobile users was to try ITV’s live stream through its mobile website – but geo-fencing problems scuppered this. The system could not correctly allow viewing by UK users and many were left reading “Access Denied”.

All the same, many people were able to watch the opening match at their office or in bed using the large-web ITV Player on a computer. Live match data provided in to by Opta did not work at my end, however, but the stream held up.