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TV giants to cooperate

BT and Sky strike deal to share channels

BT is to market and sell Sky’s NOW TV service to its customers under a new agency deal.

NOW TV offers Sky content including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and the Sky Atlantic channel.

Sky will make the full NOW TV service available on BT TV’s set top box and BT will be able to sell NOW TV subscriptions to its customers.

At the same time, BT has agreed to wholesale its sports channels to Sky, allowing Sky to sell these channels directly to Sky satellite customers.

The BT Sport channels include live UEFA Champions League and Premier League football. This will mean that satellite customers will be able to buy BT Sport from Sky as well as from BT.

The agreement brings to a successful conclusion negotiations that have been on and off for a number of years.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “This is an important day for BT and for our customers.

“This is the next logical step for our TV and content strategy. We feel that now is the right time to broaden the ways in which we distribute BT Sport.”

The agreement indicates the importance that BT places on sport as a key offering to its customers.

Currently, BT TV customers can only buy Sky Sports Main Event as a bolt-on to their TV service and are not able to choose from the full range of Sky Sports channels.

Analysis

Richard Broughton, research director at media analysis company Ampere, described it as an “unusual” move and said it may be a pre-emptive shot from both companies to limit their exposure to damage should they not get key rights in the next round.

It may also allow them to be a little less aggressive in their bidding.

“Maybe they can take their foot off the accelerator slightly on what they need to bid. What the unknown factor is new players like Facebook and Amazon and what they might go for,” he said.

 



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