Sky and BT reach agreement to sell their channels on each other’s platforms

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 15 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Sky and BT have reached an agreement allowing the two rivals to sell their channels on one another’s platforms, in a move that could strengthen their bargaining position on sports broadcasting rights against digital disruptors.

Under the deal, Sky will gain access to BT Sport content, including Premier League, Champions League and Europa League football, which it can offer through a single Sky subscription.

Meanwhile BT set-top boxes will make Sky’s Now TV service – which includes Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema – available to its customers. BT will sell Now TV on Sky’s behalf.

The new services will be available to Sky’s 22.5m subscribers and BT TV’s 1.8m customers from early 2019.  Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive of Sky, said that the move was part of the company’s stated strategy to “enhance our customer offering, to broaden our appeal and to open up new revenue streams for our business”.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “This is the next logical step for our TV and content strategy. Having built up an outstanding portfolio of exclusive sports rights and a loyal base of customers, we feel that now is the right time to broaden the ways in which we distribute BT Sport.”

The move comes a day after Disney agreed to by most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, including Sky. The deal was widely seen as a way for Disney to reshape its business in order to better compete with digital rivals, something that Sky and BT may also be thinking about.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “This certainly seems a better deal for BT than it is for Sky given that Sky will take BT’s sport content while BT gets Sky’s sports, cinema and Sky Atlantic channel, and could even gain more access to content further down the road.”

Bidding for the latest Premier and Champions League broadcasting rights starts early next year. The Premier League issued the tender document for the television rights to its fixtures for the 2019-22 seasons on Dec 7.

“These are not insubstantial amounts of money, which might suggest a more collaborative approach between BT and Sky at a time when brands like Amazon and Netflix might look to drive the price of this type of premium content higher, at a time when content is getting ever more expensive,” Mr Hewson said.

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