BT boosted by sports channels
BT’s sales and profits have risen, driven by record broadband demand and its new sports channels. The telco reported pre-tax profits of £617 million for the last three months of 2013, on revenues of £4.6 billion.
BT has moved aggressively into the TV sport business, taking on rival Sky, and now has 2.5 million customers using its pay-TV service. BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said the profit figures proved “our strategic investments are delivering”.
BT has been expanding its sports coverage, and in November beat the dominant pay-TV service BSkyB to the rights to show Champions League and Europa League matches for three seasons from 2015-16.
The group said in a statement that it saw a record quarter for fibre broadband demand, and now had 1.9 million customers taking the faster and more expensive service, out of its 7.1 million broadband customer base.
BT said that strong demand for fibre broadband and sport had helped its consumer division grow revenues by 6 per cent in the quarter, its best performance in a decade. Meanwhile, the number of BT customers disconnecting lines was at 70,000, significantly down on the 173,000 who left BT a year ago.
“This is an encouraging set of results,” said Patterson. “Our strategic investments are delivering. It was another record quarter.”
There had been worries over the financial impact of BT’s recent sport deals after it spent almost £900 million to secure the UK Champions League and Europa rights. But investors appeared to be confident about the company’s progress, sending BT’s shares more than 3 per cent higher in early trading.