BT, Sky agree to cross-supply of channels

Rival UK pay-television operators BT and Sky have sealed a landmark multi-year deal to make channels available on each other’s platforms.

BT TV customers will be able to sign up for all content available via Sky’s Now TV platform, including Sky Sports channels. BT will also be able to sell subscriptions to Now TV’s passes directly to BT customers.

At the same time, BT has agreed to wholesale its BT Sport channels to Sky, allowing Sky to sell these channels directly to its satellite customers. The BT Sport channels include exclusive live coverage of football’s Uefa Champions League. Both broadcasters provide live coverage of football’s English Premier League.

BT said that the agreement followed talks “that have been on and off for a number of years”. It is expected that these new services will be available to customers from early 2019.

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.

“This agreement fits with our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services, and adding Now TV boosts our growing roster of outstanding content from the likes of Netflix, great pay channels like AMC and all the major catch-up services.”

Currently, BT TV customers can only buy the Sky Sports Main Event channel as a bolt-on to their TV service and are not able to choose from the full range of Sky Sports channels. As a result of this agreement, BT TV customers will be able to take all 11 Sky Sports channels.

Sky group chief executive Jeremy Darroch added: “This is great news for Sky customers who will be able to access all matches on Sky and BT channels from the Premier League, Uefa Champions League and Europa League directly with a single Sky TV subscription and with the great customer service that we provide… This is all part of our stated strategy to enhance our customer offering, to broaden our appeal and to open up new revenue streams for our business.”