Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°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.

shares

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.

shares

0 comments

Drink driver in court

Two drink-drivers have been banned from the road after appearing before Ipswich magistrates.

The new bandstand is completed in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge.

A Suffolk town is celebrating the arrival of its new bandstand with a Party in the Park.

Abellio Greater Anglia train at Ipswich station

Trains have been cancelled until 3pm at the earliest today between Ipswich to Felixstowe following a signalling fault.

Crash closes lane of A12 at Capel St Mary

A woman was taken to hospital with head injuries following a crash which closed a lane of the A12 this morning.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

A 21-year-old Ipswich man has admitted entering garages with intent to steal in a act of stupidity.

Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, with Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Ipswich Building Society has been named as the community engagement partner for one of Suffolk’s biggest ever mass participation and public art events.

Drivers who refuse to put down their mobiles are targeted

Traffic police in Suffolk and Norfolk stopped 36,000 drivers in a year on suspicion of what are termed the ‘Fatal Four’ motoring offences.

Woman on bail for more than two years

The length of time suspects are bailed in Suffolk has been questioned after it emerged three people were kept on police bail for more than two years after their first arrest.

Sizewell C groundwork

Disappointment was voiced last night over renewed uncertainty for Suffolk residents waiting for a decision on Sizewell’s new nuclear reactors.

Despite wet weather, people head to Felixstowe for ice cream or just a walk in the rain.

Scarcely a few weeks have passed since talk of hot and humid temperatures interrupted by heavy rain and flash thunderstorms.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages