BT and Sky will be able to resell each other’s TV content in the UK through a new deal, as Sunrise announced it would offer the Sky Sports app to customers.
BT will now be able to resell Sky’s NOW TV service to customers of its TV offering. Integrated into the BT TV set-top box, the subscription service packages a range of Sky’s most popular content, including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky Atlantic.
Meanwhile, Sky will now be able to sell the BT Sport package of channels to its customers, which include a number of exclusive Champions League and Premier League football matches.
The operators expect the new services to be available to customers from early 2019. Financial details were not disclosed.
The agreement means that all services will now be available through a single subscription, representing a breakthrough for the two service providers, who have been involved in on and off negotiations for several years.
Traditionally dominant in the UK’s TV and sports arena, Sky has faced a growing challenge from BT since the launch of BT Sport in 2013. BT Sport now has over five million customers and paid £1.2 billion to renew its European football rights earlier this year.
However, Paolo Pescatore, SVP at CCS Insight, said the news was more important to BT as its service had been “struggling to see meaningful net adds over recent quarters”. He said the “biggest losers” from the deal would be TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
BT CEO Gavin Patterson said: “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.
“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.”
Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky, said: “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.”
Today also saw Sky gain a raft of new potential customers in Switzerland, where local operator Sunrise will offer the Sky Sport app via its ultra-high definition STB.
The content will include a range of games from the German Bundesliga as well as tennis, golf and other sports highlights.