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Premium sports still a big draw for consumers, says Kantar

BT's ad campaign for BT Sport

BT’s ad campaign for BT Sport

Premium sports content is still a major draw for consumers despite the proliferation of low-cost multi-play offerings, according to research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Research carried out by Kantar in the UK for the three months to September 30 showed that Sky, BT and Virgin Media all gained market share thanks to their strong sports offerings, with low-cost provider TalkTalk doing less well.

BT, which heavily promoted its UEFA Champions League coverage, saw its market share grow by 3.8 percentage points compared with the previous three months, with a quarter who joined citing the company’s sports package as their reason for doing so. Sky grew its share by 3.2 percentage points to 30.2% in the same period, with growth driven by its football content and value-driven broadband package, according to Kantar. Sky grew its broadband share to 27.1%, just behind BT on 27.9%, in this period.

Offering both BT Sports and Sky Sports through its platform, Virgin Media’s market share grew by over 1.8 percentage points in the past quarter.

Alongside their popular sports packages, all three of the major players increased either the length or depth of broadband discounts in the last quarter.

TalkTalk meanwhile launched a £11-per-month sports boost in August, but the lack of BT Sports as part of this hampered its share growth in the run up to the new football season, and its overall share is down by 4.7 percentage points on last quarter, according to Kantar.

Despite a strong value-driven broadband proposition, TalkTalk’s share of broadband and landline sales fell by 7.1 and 4.9 percentage points respectively as consumers headed for stronger dual or triple play packages elsewhere, according to the research group.

“Nine per cent of consumers who currently use a home service have stated that they will change their provider at the next available opportunity, with 26% of those currently on a dual play package wanting to move to a triple play offer.  With suppliers clamouring to beat each other on value, it’s vital that they continue to present a high quality service if they want to retain customers in the long term.  Increasingly, consumers are eager to consolidate their services under one provider, so suppliers need to be savvy in how they up-sell their services without compromising on good value and customer satisfaction,” said Imran Choudhary, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.