BT and Sky announce they’re content with each other

The two biggest UK premium TV players have decided to help each other out in the face of increasing competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

BT TV punters will now be able to sign up for NOW TV, which is the more ad hoc, piecemeal way of getting hold of Sky premium content, such as Sport, Movies and Sky Atlantic (essentially HBO), without having to commit to long-term contracts. Conversely Sky will now be able to resell BT Sport content to its subscribers, which includes a bunch of footie it got out-bid for.

“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,” said BT boss Gavin Hasslehoff Patterson. “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.”

“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,” said Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky.

“UK consumers will have even more ways to watch great Sky entertainment content with our leading portfolio of channels – Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living – available on all major Pay-TV platforms for the first time.”

For all the upbeat talk this feels like a defensive move by both of them. We’re increasingly consuming our TV content on an ad hoc basis and tend to gravitate towards platforms that facilitate this process. BT and Sky have been damaging each other by bidding up the price of live football in the UK and this seems to be an admission that they need to refocus their attention on mutual threats.

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