BT’s TV growth labelled ‘disappointing’

BT-SportBT’s TV base grew by 66,000 in the first three months of the year, and by 28% year-on-year, to reach 1.5 million at the end of the company’s fourth financial quarter, a level of growth analysts said was ‘disappointing’.

BT Sport’s average daily audience figures increased 45% year on year, from the start of the football season in August to the end of March, while its coverage of the Europa League match between Liverpool and Manchester United generated an audience of over two million viewers for the first time.

“Overall, this is a good set of results as BT Consumer continues to stand out with another strong quarter of subscriber and revenue growth compared to other segments, further reinforcing the benefits of acquiring EE,” said Paolo Pescatore, director, multiplay and media at analyst group CCS Insight.

“However, we are somewhat disappointed with the lack of growth in TV, given the acquisition of key rights and the first to launch live TV in 4K, in the UK.”

Broadband and TV revenue together grew by 17% compared with a revenue increase of 7% for BT Consumer overall, contributing to a 6% rise overall in revenue to £19 billion (US$27.5 billion) and a 15% rise in profits to just over £3 billion.

The TV growth follows three years of heavy investment in football rights by BT, including its three-year Champions League and Premier League deals and, most recently, its acquisition of FA Cup rights.

“This has been a landmark year for BT. We’ve completed our acquisition of EE, the UK’s best 4G mobile network provider, we’ve passed more than 25m premises with fibre and we’ve also delivered a strong financial performance,” said BT CEO Gavin Patterson. “We’ve met our outlook with our main revenue measure up 2.0%, the best performance for more than seven years. Our profit before tax was up a healthy 9%.”