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BT Vision Broadband IPTV Service Gains Major UK Football Content Boost

Thursday, Jun 14th, 2012 (8:08 am) - Score 1,210

BT has moved to make its broadband IPTV service (BTVision) more competitive with Sky (Sky Broadband) by grabbing the rights to broadcast 38 live Premier League Football matches a season (2013-14 and 2015-16), which will be shown through a new football-focused channel with extra features for its BTInfinity superfast broadband customers.

The deal includes 18 first picks (i.e. the “best” games), around half of those available and access to 38 live games, including the opening game of the season, which represents a quarter of the 154 matches to be shown each season. BT paid a hefty £246m per season for the broadcast rights, although Sky still holds the lions share and are paying £760m a year for the rest (116 games per season).

Ian Livingston, BTs Chief Executive, said:

We are pleased to have won these rights and to have secured around half of the best games on offer each season. We look forward to offering football fans real value and great quality using the latest technology.

BT is already investing £2.5bn in fibre broadband. Securing Premier League rights fits naturally with this, as consumers increasingly want to buy their broadband and entertainment services from a single provider.”

BT states that its new channel will also offer “new interactive features” when supplied over their superfast broadband network and they will also “look to distribute it on other platforms“. Full details and pricing are expected to be published in due course.

However Football is an expensive business and the first pioneers of commercial digital terrestrial TV services, ONdigital (aka – ITV Digital), ultimately paid a heavy price and folded after gambling their future away on a costly deal. Unlike ONdigital, BT’s TV services are more mature and they have the money to see it through, but that does not make them immune to the risk.

Naturally BT will want this deal to result in a sizeable boost to their subscriber base and or revenues, which could be easier said than done; but they’re certainly better placed to challenge Sky than ONdigital were.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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