Announcing results for the quarter ending September 30, BT said it had seen strong demand for BT Sport Europe – its home to UEFA Champions League football.
This new channel was one of a number of improvements to BT’s TV offering, alongside the recent launch of the AMC TV channel, which is also exclusive to BT, and the rollout of the BT TV Ultra HD package, it said.
“We’ve seen good demand for BT Sport Europe and this has helped us add a record number of BT TV customers in the quarter. Its contribution has been better than we expected, helping drive a 7% increase in BT Consumer revenue,” commented BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
BT said that its TV customer base now stands at 1.3 million and that, including its BT Sport and AMC channels, it now offers 182 channels.
In the quarter, BT Sport’s average daily audience figures increased 47%, with “encouraging viewing figures from the UEFA Champions League” recorded so far.
Other TV highlights listed in the quarter were the rollout of the BT TV Ultra HD set top box, the launch of BT’s live sports Ultra HD (4K) channel and a deal to make UKTV’s full portfolio of channels available to BT customers for the very first time – with Eden, Good Food and Home joining the seven UKTV channels already on BT TV.
In August, BT also announced a five-year deal that will see BT Sport show all Australian home cricket internationals, including the 2017/18 Ashes. The agreement starts next year.
Overall for the quarter, BT posted revenue of £4.38 billion (€6.12 billion) – flat compared to a year earlier. EBITDA was down 1% year-on-year to £1.44 billion while adjusted pre-tax profits were up 2% to £706 million.
“Our key measure of the group’s revenue trend, underlying revenue excluding transit, was up 2.0%. This growth was driven by BT Consumer where broadband and TV revenue was up 17% helped by strong demand for fibre broadband and the launch of BT Sport Europe, where the contribution has been better than we expected,” said BT.
The UK operator said its open access fibre network now passes 24 million premises and that fibre net additions were up 21% in the quarter as BT reached the 5 million milestone for homes and businesses connected.
BT secured exclusive UK live TV rights to all Champions League football matches as part of a £897 million (€1.07 billion) three-year deal that runs from the current 2015/16 season. The agreement was reached back in 2013 and BT Sport Europe launched as part of the BT Sport Pack on August 1 of this year.
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