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BT TV subs down, BT Sport performance up

BT TV subscriber numbers are down, but the amount of time viewers spend watching BT Sport is up.

In its latest results statement, BT confirmed that the number of subscribers had started to fall backwards, with around 5,000 pay TV customers lost toward the end of 2017. The TV service has struggled to gain access to premium TV content, including Sky's channels and faced stiff competition from no-contract service providers including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV.  Last month, Ofcom confirmed that BT TV was still the most complained about pay TV provider.

By early 2019, BT will be able to offer Sky channels as part of a deal that will also allow Sky to market BT Sport directly via satellite.

BT Sport enjoyed further improvements in viewing figures, with the company reporting that average BT Sport viewing had increased 23% year on year; with BT Sport recording its best quarterly performance since launch. However, there are concerns on whether BT Sport will bid high in the ongoing auction for the next set of Premier League rights.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive, commenting on the results, said
"Our third quarter financial results are broadly in line with our expectations and we remain confident in our outlook for the full year. We continue to improve our customer experience metrics across the Group, with our sixth successive quarter of improved customer perception. 
"We continue to work closely with the UK Government, Ofcom and our customers to expand the deployment of fibre and Openreach recently announced plans to accelerate our FTTP deployment to three million premises by the end of 2020. 
"We agreed a TV deal with Sky that will deliver market leading sports and entertainment channels to our BT TV platform by early 2019, reinforcing our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services."
Of the Premier League rights, he tempered expectations of another rise in the costs, saying:
"We will be competitive but ultimately won’t go beyond the price it is worth to us"