BT Sport credited with 'confident start' but line losses continue

BT Sport credited with 'confident start' but line losses continue
BT Sport credited with 'confident start' but line losses continue

BT has reported more than two million customers are directly subscribed to its TV service BT Sport three months after its launch, but hopes of halting line losses at the phone giant failed to materialise in its second quarter results today.

BT Sport is now in four million homes, with more than two million taking the channels direct from BT and others taking the service via the wholesale deal with Virgin. Of those two million plus ‘direct’ homes, more than half are watching via satellite TV. The rest are watching via BT TV (YouView or BT Vision) or its app.

However, the new service has yet to turn the tide of perennial consumer line losses, once the entire busines model of the former nationalised phone giant, which have been tumbling quarter-on-quarter for at least a decade.

There are hopes at the broadcaster that the arrival of BT Sport can indirectly help stop the quarterly line declines, and the last three months proved to be BT's best in five years, losing just 65,000 taking it to 10,027,000 - an improvement of 64 per cent on Q2 last year.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: "BT Sport has made a confident start and is already delivering for viewers... It is also delivering for the business, helping us achieve a record 93% share of broadband net adds in the quarter, our lowest line losses for five years and 4% revenue growth in our BT Retail Consumer business."

Along with drops in consumer line losses, a BT spokesperson said the impact of BT Sport can be clearly seen in three other key operational metrics: Consumer revenue is up 4% - the best performance in ten years as more customers stay with BT and take broadband; BT took a record 93% of broadband net adds (over the Openreach network) – 156,000 out of 168,000; and the BT TV base (where customers take a set top box) grew by 70,000, also the best performance in five years and more than three times the 21,000 added in the same period last year.

For the company as a whole, BT reported six-month pre-tax profits of £948m, a fall of 13% from the same period in 2012, attributed to its ongoing sports investment. BT paid £738m for a three-year deal to show 38 Premier League matches a season and increased its marketing spend by approximately 30% to around £150 million for this year.

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