Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Media: Sports channels help push growth in BT consumer revenues to a 10-year high

09:05 31 January 2014

The head office of BT, the BT Centre, in Newgate Street, London.

The head office of BT, the BT Centre, in Newgate Street, London.

BT claimed another victory in the battle for broadband customers as its new sports channels helped spur a further surge in take-up and drove its best growth in consumer revenues for a decade.

The group said it added 150,000 broadband customers in the quarter, with many lured in by a package including 38 top-flight football matches a season on its TV service, which has notched up more than 2.5million customers since last August.

Although the pace of growth slowed on the 156,000 seen the previous three months, it was still 23% higher than a year earlier and beat the 110,000 broadband customers reported by rival BSkyB yesterday.

BT said the performance helped consumer revenues rise by 6%, the best for 10 years,- while it also saw the group return to overall quarterly revenue growth for the first time in four and a half years, up 2% to £4.6billion.

Underlying pre-tax profits rose by a better-than-expected 8% to £722m and BT upped its full-year earnings guidance as it said cost-cutting efforts were offsetting its hefty BT Sport outlays.

There have been fears over the financial impact of BT’s recent sport deals after it forked out almost £900 million in November to secure the UK rights to show Champions League and Europa League matches, which followed hot on the heels of its £738 million deal for 38 live Premier League matches.

But BT said today progress on cost savings would now see underlying annual earnings come in towards the top of the expected range of between £6 billion to £6.1 billion.

BSkyB fought back yesterday having been left reeling recently after losing out on the key football rights to BT, hailing “explosive growth” for its on-demand TV service and announcing a new five-year deal for the exclusive rights to the entire HBO TV catalogue, which includes top US shows such as Girls and Game Of Thrones.

BT said it attracted more than 1.5m viewers for two games over the festive quarter, Manchester City v Liverpool and Manchester United v Spurs.

It currently offers BT Sport free to broadband customers, except those who have signed up for high definition, but experts expect the group to be forced to start charging to recoup its costs.

BT remained tight-lipped on future plans to change the offer, but confirmed it will start charging for full access to Champions and Europa League matches in 2015/16.

It was helped by a 2% reduction in overall group costs in the quarter as it continues to make efficiencies across its UK and worldwide operations, automating where it can.

Shares in the group rose 3% immediately following the update. Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “BT is a company firing on all cylinders, with extra propulsion coming in the form of its high-profile entry into the TV sporting arena.”

BT said it saw record numbers sign up to its fibre broadband, with 228,000 net adds, although that also includes existing customers who upgraded. The number of consumer line losses during its third quarter also dropped by 60% to 70,000.

BT is forming a joint venture with T-Mobile and Orange parent EE to launch a mobile phone service this year, which could be bundled with its other offerings in a so-called “quad play” package.

BSkyB is rumoured to be looking to counter this with a tie-up with Vodafone, saying yesterday it was “open minded” about partnering with other firms, but adding it was not “imperative” for the business.

0 comments

Bungling ramraiders were foiled when their vehicle got stuck on a bollard as they tried to smash their way into an Ipswich Co-op today.

A former Ipswich woman now living in Italy has fond memories of her time working at the old ABC Cinema and in the Woolworths offices in the town.

The widow of a man killed in the Tunisia terror attack has described how she “played dead” after they were both gunned down as they relaxed on a 30th wedding anniversary holiday, during an inquest into her husband’s death.

Volunteers have been helping the crew of a ship which saw one man killed and left another seriously injured in an explosion last week come to terms with the loss.

No cuts will be made to IVF in east Suffolk after a public consultation, medics have revealed this morning.

It’s the annual Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, and we want to see your photographs from across Suffolk.

Motorists across Suffolk are being warned they may experience delays on Sunday, January 29 as police escort an abnormal load through the county.

Rush hour commuters are experiencing long delays on the A14 this morning after a crash.

MPs and peers will have to vote before Theresa May can formally start divorce proceedings from the European Union.

Get involved with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24