In announcing its results for the first quarter to June 30th, UK telco BT has revealed that its TV customer base continues to grow with TV net adds of 8,000 taking its base to 1.8 million with all customers now migrated from the legacy Vision TV platform to YouView.
BT’s operating costs increased 9 per cent attributed to the investment in new UK customer service roles, its new Premier League rights contract and the closure of its legacy Vision TV platform.
BT Sport’s average audience figures increased 9 per cent, excluding Showcase and digital channels, boosted by the showing of two European finals and the America’s Cup. Around 7 million viewers watched the UEFA Champions League final across all of its TV platform and digital channels, an increase of 12 per cent compared with last year, and around 6.5 million people viewed Manchester United winning the UEFA Europa League final.
BT Sport is to become the home of the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup in the UK and Republic of Ireland, having secured the rights to broadcast all of the tournaments’ matches live. The new deal, starting from the 2018/19 season, will see BT Sport showing all of the best European Club Rugby cup matches until at least 2021/22, which combined with its Aviva Premiership Rugby rights makes us the home of elite English club rugby.
Separately, BT announced organisation and senior management changes at the Group aimed at simplifying its operating model, strengthening accountabilities and accelerating its transformation.
Marc Allera, currently CEO of the EE business acquired in 2016 by BT, is appointed to lead a newly created Consumer business, bringing together BT’s Consumer and EE businesses. The new Consumer business will operate across three distinct brands – BT, EE and Plusnet – and will span fixed and mobile networks, consumer products and services, and content.
Gavin Patterson, BT Group Chief Executive, said: “This appointment reflects the growing scale and ambition of BT. Marc has led the successful integration and delivered the improved customer experience and strong financial performance of EE. He will lead our continued integration and convergence in consumer telecommunications.”
“Together, our senior management team will ensure that BT realises its full potential: connecting customers in the UK and beyond to next-generation digital communications services, content and networks.”
This appointment will be effective September 1st 2017.
After almost four years as CEO of BT Consumer, and 13 years in BT, John Petter has announced he is stepping down to pursue roles outside the Group. Patterson said: “I’d like to record my sincere thanks to John for all he has done for BT over a number of years. Most recently as CEO of BT Consumer where he has overseen our rapid expansion in the Consumer market-place. I wish him all the very best for the future.”
As part of the Group’s continued transformation, BT has also announced the appointment of Cathryn Ross, currently Chief Executive of Ofwat, the water sector regulator in England and Wales, as its new Director of Regulatory Affairs.
Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight, said the coming-together of the consumer units of BT and EE as making perfect sense, being far stronger moving forward and realising significant cost savings. “However, we still expect the company to continue with its multi brand approach. That said, some tough decisions lie ahead. The move initially to integrate the financials and now the lines of business inevitably means that the company will move towards one brand much more likely. Combining the billing and service operations will continue to take time before we truly see a single bill from BT for all services. For consumers there will be significant long term benefits.”
“Marc Allera is a great appointment for the new entity. Since becoming CEO of EE, he has delivered strong results every quarter. And his strive for simplicity and a customer-friendly approach will put the new entity in good stead. John Petter is the latest high profile departure to leave the company. But let’s not forget that he was the architect of BT Sport which led to a turnaround in BT Consumer’s fortunes. As BT emerges from a turbulent 12 months, a recent shake-up of personnel seeks to bring stability to the under-pressure organisation.”