BT TV additions slow to a crawl

BT SportBT added just 8,000 TV customers in its financial first quarter, compared with net adds of 65,000 for the same period last year.

BT’s TV base stood at 1.8 million at the end of June. The telco said it had now moved all its legacy Vision TV customers to the more modern YouView platform.

BT said that the average audience figures for BT Sport had grown by 9%, excluding its Showcase service and digital channels. Audience figures for the 2017 Champions League final were up 12% to seven million.

BT had programming rights worth £432 million (€484 million) on its books at the end of June, up from £264 million in March. During the quarter, BT acquired the rights to the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge.

BT did increase its broadband base by 400,000 to 20.4 million, including 437,000 fibre net adds, taking its fibre total to 8.1 million. The company’s mobile base fell from 30.3 million to 29.8 million, with 385,000 net pre-paid losses offsetting 210,000 post-paid adds.

BT’s overall profit numbers were hit hard by the Italian financial scandal surrounding the acquisition of EE. A settlement payment to Deutsche Telekom and Orange meant that reported profits fell by pre-tax profit dived by 42% to £418 million. Adjusted profit fell by 1% to £791 million, while revenue rose by 1% to £5.837 billion.

Mark Allera

Mark Allera

In a major management shake-up, BT has appointed EE CEO Mark Allera as chief executive of a new combined BT Consumer unit that combines BT and EE’s consumer businesses in a single structure.

The new consumer business will operate across the BT, EE and Plusnet brands spanning fixed and mobile networks, consumer products and services and content.

Allera, who takes up his new post on September 1, will replace John Petter as BT Consumer chief. Petter is stepping down after 13 years at BT to pursue roles outside the group.

“This appointment reflects the growing scale and ambition of BT. Marc has led the successful integration and delivered the improved customer experience and strong financial performance of EE. He will lead our continued integration and convergence in consumer telecommunications,” said BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson.

“Together, our senior management team will ensure that BT realises its full potential: connecting customers in the UK and beyond to next-generation digital communications services, content and networks.”

BT has also appointed Cathryn Ross, chief executive of England and Wales water regulator Ofwat, as its new director of regulatory affairs. She replaces Sean Williams, the group’s chief strategy officer, in this role. Williams is leaving BT to pursue opportunities outside the group. Ross will take up her post in January.

“As CCS Insight predicted, the two consumer units of BT and EE have finally come together. This makes perfect sense, will be far stronger moving forward and will realise significant cost savings. However, we still expect the company to continue with its multi brand approach,” said Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at CCS Inisight, commenting on the Altera appointment.

“That said, some tough decisions lie ahead. The move initially to integrate the financials and now the lines of business inevitably means that the company will move towards one brand much more likely. Combining the billing and service operations will continue to take time before we truly see a single bill from BT for all services.  For consumers there will be significant long term benefits.”

Tags: BT, EE, Mark Allera, UK

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