BT’s £900m investment in European football appears to be paying off after the ISP and broadcaster announced its biggest ever quarterly sign-up of TV customers.
Earlier this year the firm became the exclusive home of the UEFA Champions and Europa Cup leagues which it’s providing for free to any customer who adds BT TV to their broadband package.
While the matches are also available to Sky and Virgin Media customers via the newly launched BT Sport Europe channel and a new ‘red button’ service, BT has kept HD coverage of most matches and its 4K Ultra High Definition coverage exclusive to its own platform.
The strategy helped the firm add 106,000 TV customers in the three months ending September, taking the total TV subscriber base to 1.3m. Since BT Sport launched in August 2013 BT’s previously stagnant TV base has grown by more than 400,000.
CEO Gavin Patterson said the quarter’s TV performance and its contribution to revenue growth in the firm’s consumer division “has been better than we expected”.
The firm also saw growth in its BT Mobile customer base which now stands at more than 200,000 – up 100,000 on the previous quarter. The service launched in March with a range of low-cost SIM-only deals.
Today’s trading update comes just a day after the UK’s competition watchdog gave its unconditional preliminary approval to BT’s takeover of EE which is expected to complete by the end of the financial year.
The £12bn deal will transform BT into the UK’s largest provider of mobile phones and give it an extensive retail network from which to attract further custom by cross-selling its broadband and TV services to mobile users.