Publications

Format: Dec 2017
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BT Retail residential telephony price changes: rebalancing act

BT Retail is putting through another round of residential price changes, trading further aggressive cuts in call plans in return for 12 month contracts, increases in line rental and some volume-related call charges

The £1 line rental increase is in line with our expectations and could trigger a round of increases by other players following Ofcom’s forthcoming statement on Openreach’s wholesale price ceilings

The price changes should help BT Retail to both defend its residential customer base and conserve ARPU. However, some further loss of residential market share looks inevitable

  • BT
Telecoms, Fixed Line 11 February 2009
BT Retail telephony pricing: ringing the changes

BT Retail’s fixed-line telephony packages are now amongst the most attractive in the market following a third price change in two years. Attractive headline prices have been balanced by less obvious price rises elsewhere

  • BT
Telecoms, Fixed Line 11 March 2008
BT Rights Issue Pointers

This is the first of a series of notes on the outlook for the core fixed-line businesses of BT and the other European incumbent telcos. In order to prepare investors for the coming rights issue we briefly consider the issues that face BT's core operations. The follow-on note will provide a more in-depth analysis.

Our main points are as follows:

  • BT
Telecoms 21 June 2001
BT Sport - measuring success

Although it is early days, BARB audience data already supply useful insights into the potential impact of BT Sport on the acquisition and retention of BT broadband customers and take-up of BT Infinity

Now entering its third month the very heavily publicised BT Sport has made a relatively good start in Sky households compared with its predecessors Setanta and ESPN, but less of a difference in DTT households, where getting BT Sport on BT TV is not straightforward

However, BT is still very much the junior player in a duopolistic mature market for premium sport, which we do not expect to grow significantly even if the premium sport is being given away

  • Sky
  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 3 October 2013
BT Sport - not a game changer

BT has thrown down the gauntlet to Sky, as it has launched a premium sports offering that will be free to all BT broadband customers upon its launch on 1 August 2013 The product being ‘free’ makes it a potentially effective defence of BT’s broadband base, with the possibility for win-back as well, but this also raises the direct operating losses that have to be set against these benefits The main damage to Sky comes from elevated rights costs, with there being a risk of further inflation in three years as another major round of renewals comes up

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 14 May 2013
BT Sport - the Champions?

BT will soon for the first time charge the majority of viewers for their own channels with the launch of the BT Sport Pack. The Pack includes BT Sport Europe, home to UEFA’s European football tournaments from this August, the rights to which BT are paying £299 million a year

Viewing figures for the big European tournaments are not as high as one might expect given their prominence. Consumer demand for the new channel will also be highly dependent on the success of British teams, notably lacking in recent seasons

We therefore do not expect a dramatic impact on BT Sport (or BT broadband) subscribers, and the widening losses will put pressure on BT’s margin squeeze test regulation, although they are easily absorbable at BT Group level

  • BT
  • ITV
  • Sky
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 30 June 2015
BT Sport Euro football winner – what a price!

BT has doubled the price of the live ECL/EEL rights to £900m in order to outbid Sky and ITV and become the sole owner from 2015/16 to 2017/18 BT can easily absorb these extra costs through cost savings in other parts of its business, but the direct revenue returns through subscription charges and advertising on BT Sport are expected to fall far below the annual rights payments of £300m BT’s Euro victory is not a game changer in itself, but eyes are now firmly fixed on the next auction in about 18 months time of live PL rights, which could prove to be an inflationary bloodbath for all market participants

  • Sky
  • ITV
  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 12 November 2013
BT Sport vision and reality

The launch of BT Sport and the acquisition of European Champions League and Europa League rights have set the scene for the fiercest of conflicts when the domestic live Premier League rights fall due for renewal by auction in 2015

The scale of BT’s ambitions when translated into spend per percentage share of total viewing across the year are staggering for a national TV industry generating circa £12 billion a year on programming spend of less than £6 billion. The current level of rights payments by BT imply a grand annual total of £100+ billion, if all other parties paid the same rate

So far, BT Sport has performed similarly to Setanta and ESPN in terms of audience share, and with little visible gains since launch in the total estimated base of about 3.5 million households taking BT Sport. However, BT has a long-term vision and 2015 promises to be a crunch year

  • Sky
  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 18 December 2013
BT Sport: positive first year with the Champions League

BT Sport has seen a very clear positive impact from its first year airing the Champions League, with viewing up 60% year-on-year to June. Remarkably, its reach is now not too far off Sky Sports, though it still has some way to go in terms of consistent viewership

Pay-TV audiences for the 2015/16 tournament were in line with previous years – an impressive feat – but free-to-air disappointed. However, BT should not be too concerned – it has established itself as a worthy pay-TV partner

While BT’s execution has thus beaten reasonable expectations, BT Sport still carries a heavy net financial cost for BT, with debatable benefits. Yet, whatever the benefits may be, more viewers watching more often must surely help

  • BT
  • ITV
  • Sky
Media, TV, UK Media 16 September 2016
BT steps into ESPN's trainers

BT Group’s acquisition of ESPN’s television business in the UK and Ireland marks an important step in cementing BT Sport’s position as the number two premium sports provider from the moment of launch.

The acquisition also raises the stakes, leaving BT with the strategic challenge of what distribution to opt for on the satellite and cable platforms to mitigate the high costs of BT Sport, but without overly sacrificing its USP for strengthening customer retention and building demand for high speed broadband on its own platform.

Crucial to BT’s success with BT Sport, yet obscured by the intense focus on the impending sports contest between BT and Sky, is how BT exploits YouView and multicast, all part of the bigger picture.

  • BT
  • Sky
Media, TV, Telecoms, Fixed Line 26 February 2013
BT tightens grip on Champions League TV

The latest auction of UEFA Champions League televised UK rights has seen further high 32% inflation as BT renewed its ownership for the three seasons from 2018/19 for an annual payment of £394 million

Although BT annual payments are to increase by £95 million from 2018/19, the new contract offers added commercial attractions, though we expect BT’s efforts to monetise them will fall some way short of the cost increase

However, BT had to win to cement its position against Sky as a strong number two in UK premium pay TV and we expect weaker future inflation of premium football rights. For Sky followers, the focus is now on the UEFA auctions in Germany and Italy, where the outcome is far from certain

  • BT
  • ITV
  • Sky
Media, TV 15 March 2017
BT Total Broadband Anywhere: Fusion enhanced, but still nowhere

BT’s new mobile product, BT Total Broadband Anywhere, is sensibly being sold as an optional add-on to its broadband line up, maximising the cross-selling opportunity

  • BT
Telecoms, Fixed Line 7 May 2008
BT unscheduled trading update: further drastic revisions at Global Services, with more to come

BT’s latest trading update involved a massive £340 million one-off charge to reflect a more cautious view of contract profitability and realign reported performance with cash flow; in addition reported GS EBITDA for the quarter to December is expected to be negligible

There will be little visibility of improved performance at GS until the various ongoing reviews of the business are completed, with a further charge related to one or more NHS contracts the most likely outcome

Performance at the rest of BT group is continuing to be relatively resilient, and price changes at BT Retail and Openreach should help to an extent. But GS looks likely to prove a major drag on group performance well into 2010

  • BT
Telecoms, Fixed Line 23 January 2009
BT Vision

BT plans to launch BT Vision – its hybrid Freeview-IPTV service – in Q4 2006. The aim is to broaden the appeal of its broadband offerings and help it to withstand aggressive competition from local-loop unbundlers such as Carphone Warehouse, Wanadoo/Orange and, soon, BSkyB 

Of the three known candidates, BSkyB stands to gain the most from acquiring AOL UK’s customer base, except that it would deepen an already challenging LLU cash flow profile. Orange’s market position would also be significantly strengthened by acquiring AOL UK’s customer base, with the added benefit of displacing a potentially harmful rival in BSkyB 

  • BT
Media, Telecoms 8 May 2006
BT vs. Sky at the Court of Appeal

BT’s case that the Competition Appeal Tribunal failed to address the reasons why the premium sports market works badly will finally arrive at the Court of Appeal tomorrow. We think BT’s chances of success are low, though a win would substantially enhance its competitive position in its battle against Sky BT’s complaint is that it has always wanted to retail Sky Sports channels, however Sky has always been unwilling to wholesale them, thereby resulting in no prospect of effective competition in the provision of premium sports on TV Ofcom implicitly endorsed BT’s position when it introduced the Wholesale Must Offer remedy. However, Sky took its case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which overturned Ofcom’s WMO remedy on the grounds of misinterpreting the evidence, only for BT to retort by taking its case to the Court of Appeal, which is to deliver a final verdict on whether BT is disadvantaged by Sky’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour

  • Sky
  • BT
Media, TV, Telecoms, Fixed Line 4 December 2013
BT Wholesale Broadband Access Speeds

BT Wholesale will launch IPStream Max, a rate adaptive ADSL product, on 31st March 2006, providing a downstream data rate greater than 6.5Mbit/s – a line speed that should support a wider range of good-quality video applications – to 25% of UK telephone lines

We believe that its focus on 3G is to blame, and the company seems poised to repeat this mistake with a focus on the latest industry fad, convergence 

  • BT
Telecoms 22 March 2006
BT Yahoo! Broadband

BT and Yahoo! recently announced the launch of BT Yahoo! Broadband for September 2003, a co-branded DSL transport/personalised home page/broadband portal service. The goal is to revitalise BTopenworld, which lost 10 percentage points in DSL market share in H1 2003. The new service will be provided to BTOW subscribers at the same price as the DSL service today, improving BTOW's value-for-money proposition and providing clear proprietary differentiation over other ISPs.

  • BT
  • Yahoo
Media, Telecoms 17 July 2003
BT's away game

BARB viewing figures provide an encouraging start to BT in its first season showing Champions League and European televised rights; numbers are on a par with those achieved by Sky over the previous few seasons

The investment in rights is not just about achieving good viewing figures - BT’s entry into televised sports is as much about supporting its broadband and pay-TV business in the face of increasing competition from Sky and others

BT has reported results for the September quarter with record-setting TV net adds and steady broadband net adds, confirming that while Sky arguably won the broadband battle, BT won TV, and neither really lost in either category

  • BT
Fixed Line, Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 29 October 2015
BT's IPTV play

BT has gone further than expected in setting a “medium term” goal of 2-3 million customers for BT Vision, remaining vague on when it will be achieved. Giving away the PVR and a cheap self-install option, due later in 2007, are essential to achieve this target

Radio groups implement further cutbacks and increased centralisation to combat shrinking audiences and revenues

In our view, commercial radio requires more than a marketing plan and cost cutbacks – a renaissance of creativity and inward investment are needed for radio to compete more effectively with the increasing diversity of personalised audio content available online

  • BT
Telecoms, Media 10 January 2007
BT's reassuring price rise

BT has announced consumer price rises of around 6% to take effect from 5 January 2013; Virgin Media had raised its prices in April 2012 by around 5%, and we expect the LLU operators to largely follow, at least for line rental

While this was largely expected, given a (self-imposed) price freeze that expires on this date, continued price rationality in the UK broadband and telephony market is reassuring

The timings of the price rises should allow both BT and TTG improve their revenue growth in Q1 2013 after a weak Q4 2012

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 29 August 2012

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