Pay-TV, broadband big up BT bottom line in Q1 | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Sales of high value services, especially fibre-based broadband and pay-TV, have helped bolster what could be described as a flat start for BT in the first quarter of its current financial year.

For the three-month period ended 30 June 2014, the UK telco reported total revenue of £4.354 billion, down 2% year-on-year, driving EBITDA of £1.435 billion, the same as in the corresponding period a year ago. Profit before tax was £638 million, up 7% year-on-year, and reported profits amounted to £546 million, a yearly rise of 22%.

In the BT consumer division in which the TV business is located, overall revenue increased 10%, with 26% growth in broadband and TV revenue reflecting the impact of BT Sport. Yet as it began the exchange of legacy set-top boxes in the quarter there was some TV customer churn that saw 35,000 inactive customers removed from BT's TV base. Excluding these, it added 40,000 TV customers in the quarter even though BT Sport faced a tough end of the English Premier League football season when arch-rival BSkyB had access to the key games.

Operating costs in the quarter increased 12% with higher costs associated with BT Sport and the increased revenue partly offset by cost transformation activities. To further boost the BT Sport portfolio BT also announced that it had secured the rights to broadcast FIFA World Cup champions Germany's home friendly matches and to screen the DFB Cup, Germany's prime domestic football cup competition, the equivalent of England's FA Cup.

Commenting on the results, BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "We have delivered growth in underlying revenue excluding transit and in profit before tax, and free cash flow was strong ... Our fibre broadband network now covers more than 20 million premises. We are passing over 70,000 additional premises each week and demand is strong with more than three million already signed up. We have announced a further 2,500 new jobs in recent months to support our strategic investments in fibre and customer service. The second season of BT Sport is about to start with a great line-up of content and it will continue to be free with BT Broadband. We are building on solid foundations and I am confident we will deliver on our strategy."