In reporting its Q1 results, BT has revealed that it added 60,000 TV customers in the quarter, bringing its total to 1.2 million.
BT Sport average daily audience figures increased 51 per cent, which the telco said was its best performance since launch, reflecting the improvements it had made to the BT TV offering.
Adjusted revenue at £4.278 billion (€6.091bn) was down 2 per cent vs £4.354 billion last year – flat on an underlying basis, a significant improvement on the 1.3 per cent decline last quarter, with adjusted EBITDA – £1.449 billion, up 1 per cent vs £1.435 billion last year. Adjusted Profit before Tax was £694 million, up 9 per cent vs £638 million last year.
Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive, said it was an exciting time at the telco. “We continue to invest heavily in our superfast fibre broadband network. It now reaches around 80 per cent of all UK premises and we will work with government to help take fibre broadband to 95 per cent of the country by the end of 2017. Our technical trials of ultrafast broadband using G.fast are progressing well; we’re on target to start large-scale customer trials this summer,” he advised.
“Our mobile plans have got off to a good start with more than 100,000 consumer mobile customers signed up in the first three months. We’re also looking forward to completing our acquisition of EE, which will allow us to create a true UK digital champion, providing customers with greater choice and value and helping to deliver the UK’s connected future,” he said.
“We’re launching BT Sport Europe in the next few days, the new home of UEFA Champions League football, which is free for our BT TV customers. We are also leading the way on Ultra HD TV. Our BT Sport Ultra HD channel will be the first live sports channel in Europe offering picture quality four times that of normal high definition,” he noted.
“We have also invested further in improving customer service and Openreach is running ahead of all 60 minimum service levels set by Ofcom for this year. And we are engaging with Ofcom as part of its Strategic Review of Digital Communications which offers scope for deregulation and the potential to create a more level playing field in pay-TV,” he suggested.
“The investments we are making in our business and customer service are building a strong platform for growth. And our financial results show we’re on track to achieve our outlook for the full year,” he concluded.
Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Video at CCS Insight, said that overall, it was a “modest” set of results as BT Consumer continues to stand out with another good quarter of subscriber and revenue growth versus other segments. “We are now moving into a couple of key quarters for the company as the new Premier League season kicks off, but more importantly sole ownership of the UEFA Champions League rights. In the last week, BT has stepped up marketing quite considerably for BT Sport Europe, as there is a clear opportunity to target disgruntled Sky Sport subscribers,” he suggested.
“All eyes are now firmly on the launch of the first Ultra HD (4K) live sports channel in Europe, BT Sport Ultra HD, this coming Sunday between Arsenal and Chelsea. This represents a significant milestone for the company and a first given that BBC and Sky traditionally have been the first to bring new innovation to the TV market,” he noted.
“The results also reflect an encouraging start to BT’s return to the consumer mobile market. Having added more than 100,000 users within three months it shows that there is a strong appetite among its customers to sign up to more services. This further validates its cross selling strategy, its move back into mobile and with its acquisition of EE, BT will have an extensive retail footprint to showcase a wider range of services,” he advised.