As these channels will also be available via the BSkyB satellite platform, this means that Sky TV customers will be able to receive BT’s sports offering, including premiership football and rugby amongst others, for free as long as they stick with, or migrate to BT broadband.
With Sky currently the most aggressive of BT’s competitors in the fixed voice and broadband markets – this is a judicious strategic move which, with substantial TV marketing ready to go live today, should prove a successful ploy for BT.
The BT Sports offer marks a significant departure for BT from its previous TV service positioning. The unbundling of affordable access to premium sports content from regular pay-TV subscriptions is a move that will be attractive to many consumers. This, coupled with the subsidized sports offer for broadband customers, will certainly help BT consolidate its leadership in the retail broadband access market.
As well as defending its broadband business, it is also important for BT to increase its own TV market share, as this will drive much-needed additional ARPU growth. BT will be hoping that, backed with a big marketing campaign, the new BT Sports channels (which are also free to BT TV customers) will drive greater take pay-TV up.
However, Ovum believes BT’s TV strategy remains muddled, with two distinct brands still cluttering its messaging and some unclear benefits listed attributed to its various TV packages. Much work is therefore needed to simplify the offering and drive home the advantages of BT’s TV service over that of the competition.
Jonathan Doran is a principal analyst with Ovum. For more information visit www.ovum.com