Revolutionary Measures

BT and football: Sick as a parrot

Sky Sports Logo's from 6th January 2010
Image via Wikipedia

I wrote back in August about BT’s ambitious plans to take on Sky with live Premiership football through BT Vision. Rumours at the time were that BT’s marketing blitz was simply not scoring with viewers.

Well, quarterly results are now in and BT Vision seems to be showing relegation form. While adding 53,000 subscribers in eight months might seem a credible result, this is at a cost of £30m in marketing spend. This is even below the predicted 60,000 that analysts were talking about.

I’ve already analysed why I think BT has got it wrong, but it is worth looking into the figures. The cost of recruiting every new Sky Sports subscriber has been over £560 – on packages which start at £16.99 a month. At that rate it would take nearly 3 years to for BT to move into profit on an individual customer – and that’s ignoring operating costs and fees to Sky. It reminds me a lot of the ITV Digital debacle, when that broadcaster stumped up a whopping £315 million for the rights to show Football League – viewing figures were so low it was calculated it would have been cheaper to chauffeur viewers to some matches and shell out for their tickets and pies rather than pay the broadcasting fees. BT isn’t going to go bust in the same way but needs to think again on how it becomes a content provider, rather than a utility telco………


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November 11, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] However often that same content is available through other channels, ranging from iTunes to that old staple, the DVD boxset. So what can internet only services do to differentiate themselves, apart from price? There’s a lot of talk about creating their own content, from both Netflix and established brands such as YouTube but you need to either be spending big on stars or sporting events to stand out or focus on established shows that are already hits. Given the power of the likes of Sky, which can simply create new channels to maximise the impact of its content (as it has in F1), it will be a tough ask to muscle in. Just ask BT which saw its Vision service comprehensively outmarketed by Sky when it tried to go head to head. […]

    Pingback by Will the internet kill the TV star? « Revolutionary Measures | February 6, 2012 | Reply

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