BT has reported an increase in profits and sales for the last quarter of 2013.
BT reported pre-tax profits of £617m on revenues of £4.6bn for the last 3 months of 2013, this is a rise of 2% on turnover and is the first time they have had a rise since the first quarter of 2009 and also marks a substantial 6% rise in the pre-tax profits.
Much of BT’s growth has come because of the strategic investment in live sports of their BT Sports TV channel to compete against BSkyB. They now have 2.5 million customers using their TV service, many of which are BT Infinity broadband customers who get to receive free access to the BT Sports channels. BT has got a broadband customer base of 7.1 million customers with 1.9 million of those taking out a fibre optic broadband connection with BT.
In the 3rd quarter of 2013 BT Openreach took on 339,000 new superfast broadband customers (not all BT as BT Openreach is the division of BT that deals with rolling out their network), this was up 38% on a year previous. On a net basis, BT added 150,000 standard and superfast broadband customers which equated to 60% growth in the overall market.
BT have invested very heavily in the rights to live sports, with football being the main area they have put most of their money, they have spent £738m per season for 3 years for the rights to exclusively show 38 live Premier League games, they have also spent a further £900m for the exclusive rights to show Champions League and Europa League games for 3 years from 2015 too.
To view a full breakdown of BT’s Third Quarter results visit btplc.com.
BT’s head to head battle with BSkyB starts properly tonight as the new BT Sport channel goes live tonight for the first time at 6pm.
BT (www.bt.com) have put much time and money into their BT Sport channels, first off they secured the rights to 38 Premier League football games per season for 3 seasons of which they will get first choice for around half of their games, next up they then decided that BT Broadband customers would get free access to the BT Sport channels, this resulted with Sky then offering free Sky Broadband to their customers who have Sky TV contracts.
BT has much deeper pockets than other sports channels who have tried to compete with BSkyB for sports coverage in the past such as Setanta and ESPN. BT’s dive into the Sport sector is initially probably less to do with wanting to take over the paid TV market that Sky have most coverage of but to instead help reduce the churn of BT Broadband customers from leaving them for rivals and to entice other broadband customers to join them. Triple-play services such as Telephone, Broadband & TV are what both BT & Sky want from their customers to sign up for so they can take more money from them for having more services but they have to offer deals and enticing offers to make these worthwhile for customers.
BT Sport have not only splashed the cash on getting the live football games but also in building a good team to represent the channels, they got Jake Humphrey from the BBC F1 team to be the main host and they have signed Robin Van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Bale as some of the faces to help advertise the channel. Sky have recently launched a new advert with David Beckham to advertise their Sports channels which shows him at home and on the move in studios and a cafe and being able to watch Sky Sports on the go wherever he is.