BT Sport passes 2.5MN subs barrier

Joseph O'Halloran | 31-01-2014

A strategy of making huge investments in key strategic areas, particularly football, has begun to pay off for BT, according to its latest quarterly results.

Overall, for its third quarter ended 31 December, BT posted 4.6 billion in revenue, up by 1% year-on-year, demonstrating, said the company, further progress towards sustainable and profitable revenue growth. Underlying revenue excluding transit was up 2.4%.

BTs overall consumer revenue for the quarter increased 6% driven by a 22% growth in broadband and TV, reflecting, said the company, the benefit of BT Sport to its top line. BT added 53,000 TV customers during the quarter, more than double the prior year, contributing to a total of more than 2.5 million BT Sport retail customers, which include those watching via satellite, BT TV, online or via the dedicated mobile app.

Operating costs during the quarter were up 2% and included an investment of around 140 million in BT Sport. During the quarter BT further strengthened its football proposition, which had already begun to worry arch rival BSkyB, by winning the exclusive live broadcast rights for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League for three seasons from 2015/16. This will mean an investment of around 300 million per season for the rights.

BT also added 150,000 retail broadband customers, up 23%, representing 60% of the DSL and fibre broadband market net additions. It achieved its best ever quarter in fibre, in which BT Sport acts as a key driver, with 228,000 retail fibre broadband net additions, leading to around 1.9 million fibre customers.

Commenting on the results, BT chief executive, Gavin Patterson, said: "This is an encouraging set of results Our strategic investments are delivering. It was another record quarter for fibre take-up and there are now more than 18 million premises with access to our fibre. Fibre underpins our TV plans. Our direct BT Sport customer base passed 2.5 million in the quarter and helped to support 6% revenue growth in our consumer business. We achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December and the exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League that we have won will further strengthen the appeal of our proposition."