BT Group (LON:BT.A) and Sky (LON:SKY) have inked a deal to sell their channels to each other’s platforms, the companies have said. The deal means that the former telecoms monopoly’s live UEFA Champions League and Premier League football will be made available on its rival’s platform.
BT’s share price has reacted positively to the news, having climbed 0.41 percent higher to 274.98p as of 08:43 GMT, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.07 percent in the red at 7,442.86 points. Sky’s share price meanwhile stands 0.60 percent higher at 995.94p. The pay-TV group’s stock suffered a hit yesterday following news of the Disney-Fox deal.
BT and Sky announce deal
BT announced in a statement this morning that it had agreed a multi-year agency deal to market and sell Sky's NOW TV service to its customers. NOW TV offers Sky’s most popular content, including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and the Sky Atlantic channel. The new services are expected to be available to customers from early 2019.
At the same time, the former telecoms monopoly has agreed to wholesale its BT Sport channels to Sky, allowing its rival to sell these channels directly to Sky satellite customers. The telco noted that the agreement followed negotiations which had been on and off for a number of years.
“This is an important day for BT and for our customers, who will be able to enjoy a whole range of Sky’s sport and entertainment programming on their BT TV boxes,” the group’s chief executive Gavin Patterson commented in the statement, adding that the move was “the next logical step for our TV and content strategy”.
Richard Broughton, research director at media analysts Ampere, told the BBC that the deal was ‘certainly very unusual’.
“It is a consequence of increasing sports rights,” he explained. "The new rights are up for renewal very soon and this is a pre-emptive shot from both companies to limit their exposure to damage should they not get key rights and also allow them to be a little less aggressive in their bidding.”