In reporting its Q2 results, BT has revealed that its TV customer base continues to grow, with TV net adds of 7,000 taking its base to 1.8 million.
Average viewing figures for BT Sport for the quarter increased 8 per cent compared to last year (excluding showcase), driven by strong performance in both Premier League (up 2 per cent) and UEFA Champions League (up 16 per cent), with six British teams having qualified for the group stage for the first time since the 2007/08 season.
During the quarter, BT began streaming its weekly rugby union magazine show, Rugby Tonight, for free on social media platforms. In addition, BT Sport Score, the football results show, is now available to anyone using Twitter in the UK. According to BT, these initiatives provide potential subscribers with the opportunity to sample its programming and underline its commitment to make televised sport more accessible to fans.
BT’s operating costs increased 2 per cent as a result of the investment in new UK customer service roles and additional sports rights costs from Premier League, Box Nation and the Ashes uplift in its Cricket Australia deal. As a result, EBITDA was down 3 per cent in the quarter. Reported revenues were down 1 per cent to £5.949 billion and underlying revenue down 1.5 per cent.
Paolo Pescatore, Vice President, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight, described it as a modest quarter for the telco. “Ongoing challenges still remain with its pension deficit and business units including global services. This was, however, another standout quarter for EE and continues to perform in a cut-throat market. More than double consumer line losses is a worry and TV net additions was extremely disappointing. More so in in light of the new European football season, given the huge focus on sports and TV services. Despite its strong assets, the company is struggling to cross-sell more services into its existing subscriber base. [CEO of EE and BT’s consumer brands] Marc Allera faces some tough decisions with the integration of the consumer units and the forthcoming Premier League rights auction.”