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BT revamps pay TV packages with flexible structure

BT has launched a range of new ‘flexible’ TV packages as it looks to disrupt the UK’s pay TV market and keep pace with the rising tide of streamers. 

Launching on February 21, the company will offer 24-month flexible TV packages which are designed to allow customers to upgrade, downgrade and add bolt-ons on a month-to-month basis.

This means, for example, that customers could pay for the £40 per month ‘Big Sport’ package – which includes all 11 Sky Sports channels and BT Sport – for the duration of the Premier League season alone. A release from BT said that “customers can change their package subscriptions simply and fuss-free online or via the My BT app – removing the need to call in to speak with someone.”

In addition, Sky-owned NOW TV has been fully integrated with BT TV, with the company boasting that it is the only platform in the UK that allows access to BT Sport, NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix within one bill.

The launch of flexible packages follows on from December’s announcement that BT Sport would offer no-contract monthly passes for the first time.

BT also promised that there will be no out-of-contract price rises during the 24 months.

In total, BT will offer five new flexible TV packages:

  • Entertainment – £10 per month: “Offering the latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One, plus over 300 Box Sets on demand, all from the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.”
  • Sport – £15 per month: “All 4 BT Sport channels, with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League with the best world-class sport from football to UFC and much more.”
  • Big Entertainment – £20 per month: “The latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One with over 300 Box Sets and all Sky Cinema channels with over 1,000 movies on demand and over 40 new movies added every month from NOW TV.”
  • Big Sport – £40 per month: “The best of BT and Sky Sports. All 11 Sky Sports channels, bringing you the Premier League, Formula 1, golf majors and much more with the NOW TV Sky Sports Pass. Plus, watch all 4 BT Sport channels, with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League with the best world-class sport from football to UFC and much more from BT.”
  • VIP – £60 per month: “For those who want everything TV has to offer and more. The latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One, all Sky Cinema channels with over 1,000 movies on demand, the biggest live events on 11 Sky Sports channels, all in full HD, from NOW TV. Plus, watch all 4 BT Sport channels with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League in HD and access to BT Sport Ultimate in up to 4K HDR”

The operator will also offer a range of 30-day bolt-ons, including HD and 4K (£5 per month), Netflix (£5.99 per month), Amazon Prime Video (£5.99 per month after a six month trial) and a range of NOW TV Passes (ranging from £3.99 per month to £33.99 per month).

BT TV will be running a special launch offer for customers which includes BT Superfast Fibre and the Entertainment Package for £37.99 per month.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division said: “Life doesn’t stand still from month to month, so we don’t believe our customers’ TV should either. Our new range of TV packs bring together the best premium services, fully loaded with a wide range of award-winning shows, the best live sports in stunning 4K and the latest must-see films – all with the flexibility to change packs every month – with quick and easy search to find what you want to watch. So now with a click of a button you can take out the Big Sport package to catch the top Premier League fixtures one month and swap it for VIP for a rainy school holiday with the family the next.”

Marina Storti, managing director, NOW TV, said: “There has never been a more interesting and dynamic time for the entertainment industry than right now and we’re so thrilled to be able to launch NOW TV on BT at such an exciting time. With NOW TV’s range of passes, BT TV customers will be able to enjoy our latest award-winning shows, blockbuster movies and top quality sports content with complete flexibility, so that customers can pay for exactly what they want.”

This greater cooperation between BT and Sky is something which was first announced in 2017 but had consistently been delayed.

As per the previous announcement, Sky customers will now also be able to purchase BT Sport via their Sky subscription rather than having to contact BT.

Speaking during the company’s most recent quarterly earnings call, BT CEO Phillip Jansen said that the delays  were to do with “complicated IT technology between both us and Sky.”

With this new product range available, BT will hope that it can create a compelling offering that will future-proof the company in the ‘streaming decade’.

Assessing the news, Paolo Pescatore, tech, media and telco analyst at PP Foresight said that the move “feels like a last ditch effort to be successful in TV.”

He said: “Aggregation is the holy grail. BT has done a superb job of introducing some novel features and bringing together key services all in one place. This will strongly resonate with users. However, it is unlikely to pose a considerable threat to Sky who in turn will be able to bundle BT Sport into its own packages. In the future expect this new TV platform to be bundled with BT Halo which will further strengthen its premium convergent offering.”