Advanced Television

Sky, BT cross-supply channel deal

December 15, 2017

By Colin Mann

In a move set to benefit consumers and customers of both pay-TV platforms, Sky has concluded an agreement with BT which means Sky customers will have their choice of sports all through a single Sky TV subscription, while also broadening the reach of Sky’s entertainment channel brands to all major pay-TV services in the UK for the first time.

Sky will make the full NOW TV service available on BT TV’s set-top box and BT will be able to sell subscriptions to NOW TV’s passes directly to BT customers.

BT customers will be able to watch the Sky content seamlessly as an integrated part of the BT TV platform.

The agreement brings to a successful conclusion negotiations that have been on and off for a number of years.

Under the agreement, Sky will receive wholesale supply of the BT Sport channels enabling it to offer its customers access to every single match of the Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League shown on Sky and BT channels through one simple Sky contract. This will be the first time Sky is able to provide BT Sport to its customers directly as part of a Sky bundle or on a standalone basis and across all Sky platforms including Sky Go. BT Sport will also be available as an app on NOW TV boxes.

Sky will make its NOW TV streaming service available on the BT TV set-top-box. As retail agent, BT will sell NOW TV on Sky’s behalf, offering BT TV customers access to Now TV’s most popular content including Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.

This agreement is a further step in Sky’s strategy to maximise distribution of key channel brands and to monetise its content investment further across all TV platforms. By adding Now TV to the heart of BT’s TV offering, Sky’s portfolio of TV entertainment brands will be available to all UK consumers through each major Pay-TV service, reaching new customers and expanding the appeal of our channels to advertisers.

It is expected that these new services will be available to customers from early 2019.

“This is great news for Sky customers who will be able to access all matches on Sky and BT channels from the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Europa League directly with a single Sky TV subscription and with the great customer service that we provide,” declared Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO, Sky. “UK consumers will have even more ways to watch great Sky entertainment content with our leading portfolio of channels – Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living – available on all major Pay-TV platforms for the first time. This is all part of our stated strategy to enhance our customer offering, to broaden our appeal and to open up new revenue streams for our business.”

“This is an important day for BT and for our customers, who will be able to enjoy a whole range of Sky’s sport and entertainment programming on their BT TV boxes,” added Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT. “This is the next logical step for our TV and content strategy. Having built up an outstanding portfolio of exclusive sports rights and a loyal base of customers, we feel that now is the right time to broaden the ways in which we distribute BT Sport.”

“This agreement fits with our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services, and adding NOW TV boosts our growing roster of outstanding content from the likes of Netflix, great pay channels like AMC and all the major catch-up services.”

The agreement demonstrates the importance that BT places on sport as a key offering to its customers, and enables BT Sport to reach a new audience.

Currently, BT TV customers can only buy Sky Sports Main Event as a bolt-on to their TV service for £27.50 per month, and are not able to choose from the full range of Sky Sports channels. As a result of this agreement, BT TV customers will be able to take all eleven Sky Sports channels, as well as a NOW TV Entertainment pass offering channels including Sky Living, Sky One and Sky Atlantic, which also offers box sets including Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies and Billions. BT customers will be able to buy all of this in competitively priced bundles with BT TV.

“This deal has taken many years but it is great news for consumers,” noted Paolo Pescatore, Senior Vice President, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight. “They don’t have to sign up to different providers. However, this means more to BT giving its ailing TV service which has been struggling to see meaningful net adds over recent quarter. Hopefully the addition of these premium Sky channels along with the hugely successful BT Sport service, will make BT TV more attractive and drive consumer uptake.”

“Furthermore, this is a significant move for the new head of the combined consumer units of BT and EE. All eyes will now be on the Premier League and whatever the outcome both BT and Sky will be in a strong position to air all the Premier League matches on their respective platforms. Arguably the biggest losers in this tie up are TalkTalk and Virgin Media.”


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