According to Paolo Pescatore, VP, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight, BT’s Q3 results indicate a “somewhat challenging” quarter for the company, especially for Global Services. Reported revenue was down 3 per cent to £5.97 billion (€6.8bn) and underlying revenue down 1.5 per cent.
“Worrying times for the consumer unit, with another quarter of line losses and TV net additions were down too,” he commented, suggesting that CEO Marc Allera has a lot to ponder, and that the new organisation structure cannot come soon enough. “However, all eyes are on the Premier League auction. We believe that this is a pivotal moment for BT Sport. At the previous auction, BT Sport paid more for matches shown on Saturday nights, effectively swapping the lunch-time game with Sky, and this led to a rise in viewers,” he advised.
“Over time, BT Sport has taken the fight to Sky Sports. The big question now is whether it can outplay the latter by securing a “Super Sunday” game or try to own all of Saturday. It would need to invest more money, which may be an unlikely scenario, having been hit by a number of scandals over the past year and its daunting pension deficit,” he suggested.
Average BT Sport viewing increased 23 per cent year on year, making it BT’s best performing quarter since launch, driven mainly by continued strong performance of the UEFA Champions League as well as exclusive coverage of the Ashes. “All of our BT Sport customers are now on a paid sport tariff, illustrating our commitment to monetise our investment in sport,” said BT.
In the quarter the telco announced a multi-year deal with Sky to sell Sky’s NOW TV service to BT TV customers, through the BT TV platform. “Starting from early 2019, our customers will have the ability to access Sky’s most popular content including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky’s entertainment channels including Sky Atlantic, and at the same time we have agreed to wholesale our BT Sport channels to Sky, allowing Sky customers to buy BT Sport. This reinforces our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services. The deal is expected to be broadly financially neutral over the initial three-year contract period given approximately £50 million upfront costs,” it advised.