BT reported a “strong start” for its new sports channel line-up with more than half a million households now having ordered BT Sport ahead of its August 1 launch.
However, net additions for BT’s TV service in the quarter ending June 30, came in at just 23,000 taking the customer base to 833,000, as the firm admitted that most of the new sport channel sign-ups were from existing customers.
The overall TV customer sign-up figure was lower than in the previous quarter when BT added 40,000 new TV customers for the three months ending March 31, almost doubling its sign up number for each of the proceeding three quarters.
“It is early days but we are very pleased that more than 500,000 households have now ordered BT Sport. As expected, most of these are existing customers who have re-contracted their broadband service. We expect the proportion of new customers to increase after we launch the channels on 1 August,” said BT in its fiscal first quarter earnings announcement.
In the quarter, BT said it added 95,000 retail broadband customers, up 12% year-on-year, representing 50% of the DSL and fibre broadband market net additions. “We added 197,000 retail fibre broadband customers, up around 30%, and now have around 1.5m customers,” it added.
BT officially launched its forthcoming sports channels in May, revealing that they would be made available free of charge to BT broadband customers, as part of a long-term plan to drive uptake of BT’s superfast broadband and bundled TV-phone and broadband options.
BT has spent around £1 billion for sports rights over the next three years, licensing a raft of sports content, including 38 live and exclusive Premier League football matches.
Overall in the quarter, revenue came in at £4.449 billion (€5.15 billion), down 1% year-on-year but beating analyst expectations. Pre-tax profits dropped 16% year-on-year to £449 million.