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TV ‘absolutely key’ for BT’s broadband strategy

TV is absolutely central to BT’s strategy of driving forward its BT Infinity broadband base through bundled offerings, according to Antonia Salmon, general manager TV product and TV Everywhere, BT.

“It’s absolutely key for BT to develop its TV proposition and become a significant player in the TV space,” said Salmon, speaking at the OTTtv World Summit. She said that bundling of internet, TV and telephony had been key to rival service providers’ growth, with more than half of all Virgin Media subscribers and 35% of Sky subscribers taking all three services.

BT TV is seen as a way to drive interest in BT’s fibre network – “a match made in heaven”, said Salmon. “We have our best ever triple-play offer in the market right now.”

Salmon said that sports content had been key for Sky, and would likewise be so for BT. She said that BT’s bid for Premier League rights showed how serious it is about building a TV presence, and that BT had gone from zero to securing a series of valuable sports rights packages, recently adding exclusive live rights to UEFA Champions League and Europa League football to its roster. “We now have more than two million BT TV direct customers,” said Salmon, adding that five million TV viewers had viewed BT Sport in October and that the company had seen one million downloads to date of its sports app.

Salmon said awareness and advocacy had grown strongly, with sports fans choosing BT broadband as a result of their positive experience of the BT Sport service.

Salmon said that BT’s strategy is paying off, with BT consumer revenue increasing by 4% in the last quarter, the best performance for 10 years. “We don’t have to steal Sky’s [market] share to be successful and we have recently signed a deal to carry Sky Movies,” said Salmon. “We will succeed because…we deliver a package of services customers want…and because we are now a permanent part of the sports landscape.”