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 Court of Appeal held full day hearings on 5 and 6 December 2013 in response to the appeal by BT against the earlier verdict of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) published on 12 August 2012 that the core competition concerns that led to Ofcom’s Wholesale Must Offer (WMO) remedy were not justified by the evidence
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.
The UK residential communications sector again had a strong quarter for revenue growth, with reported growth from the top four operators at 5%, or around 4% excluding the one-off impact of extra BT Sport related revenues
Unfortunately cost growth was even stronger, with margins dropping at three of the four largest operators. The aggressive launch of BT Sport has driven up content costs, marketing costs or both for all of the operators
After several years of preparation Sky’s AdSmart launched in August and is on schedule to be offered to all advertisers in January/February 2014 after beta trials involving some 50 advertisers in the second half of 2013 AdSmart is all about addressable and low waste targeted segmentation on the Sky pay-TV satellite platform, which for the first time in UK TV history allows national channels to offer highly localised, targeted advertising AdSmart promises to grow significantly the TV advertising ecosystem, though success in realising the full revenue potential of AdSmart, possibly in the o
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 mar
2014 will be a tough year for Sky as it strives to improve the connectivity across its base while facing the challenge of BT in premium sports. 2014 has started well in terms of product growth and BT Sport has had no discernible impact on Sky broadband take-up and little, if any, impact on acquisition and retention discounts offered to new and existing Sky customers. With eyes focused on the impending auction of European Champions League pay-TV rights, we think BT has every incentive to push the price up, but not actually to win them.
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
UK residential communications revenue growth was again strong in Q2 2013 at 4% supported by strong unit volume growth (despite seasonal factors in the quarter) and firming ARPU, helped by firm pricing and high speed broadband take up
High speed broadband adoption continued apace at BT and Virgin Media, but much more slowly at the other operators. This may start to change in the second half of the year, as Sky and TalkTalk market the product more aggressively, and a wires-only self-install version becomes available
FY 2013 produced strong growth as revenues increased by 6.5% and costs by only 6.1% as a large £188 million rise in programming spend was more than balanced by the achievement of efficiencies in operating service costs The big surprise was the announcement of a £60-70 million impact on EBIT in 2014 as Sky seeks to accelerate the uptake of connected TV across its base The big threat in 2014 is the possible loss of European Champions League rights to BT Sport from the 2015/16 season, while the main challenge is how to maximise connected TV revenues, where clear communication of the benefits