Analyst: EPL rights ‘essential’ for BT/Sky

cahill-footballAhead of the Premier League football rights auction which is set to get under way February 6th, with current rights holders Sky and BT likely to be joined by Discovery Communications and beIN Sports, Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at CCS Insight has suggested that securing such rights are key to their respective multiplay strategies.

“This year’s rights auction will show how far BT and Sky are prepared to go to keep hold of what they see as an essential asset for their future success. With so much at stake we can expect to see a frantic bidding process. In order to compete head on with Sky, BT must secure more games, while Sky needs to protect its lucrative pay-TV business which helps it to discount and cross sell other services,” he advises.

“Our latest research shows clear consumer demand for multiplay services and both Sky and BT have made some aggressive moves into this area to capitalise on this. By the time the rights come into effect, multiplay will have become more mainstream and for this reason neither company can afford to lose out on their current rights package,” he notes.

“The Premier League rights allow providers to differentiate their multiplay offerings and moving forward this will become a key factor for consumers’ decision making. Everyone will be offering broadband, mobile and pay-TV, but it will be the exclusive content on offer which will set providers apart,” he suggests.

“The arrival of any new entrant will certainly be highly disruptive, but it’s unclear whether this would be a benefit for consumers. Depending on the outcome and assuming that BT, Sky and a new entrant are all successful in some shape or form this would mean consumers would have to take out three separate subscriptions to watch all of the live TV games that are on offer,” he warns.

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