Could BT Sport be leaving Virgin and/or going streaming only?

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  • In the not too distant past, BT were asking customers how they accessed their channels eg TV, phone, tablet, laptop etc and were sounding out what customers thought about the idea of them dropping linear broadcasts in favour of streaming only.


    People were also asked how much they were currently paying for their BT channels and how much they would be prepared to pay for a streaming only service.


    I assumed that this was a cost cutting idea should they not find a full or part buyer for their channels, which they don't appear to have done.


    Over on Digital Spy, epsilon has posted this today:


    Quote from epsilon;c-99316273

    Possible changes to the BT Sport channels?


    I was told earlier today that a location of one of Virgin's Channel Update slate has been updated with codes for BT subscription packages. Currently an actual slate isn't visible but it does carry EPG information "Channel No Longer Available". Beware that the EPG data may be out of date and from a previous occasion when the slate was used. Virgin usually use these slates when more than one channel is involved. It is possible that the slate will eventually show nothing more than a change of channel numbers. Does anyone know of any imminent changes to the BT Sport channels on Virgin?

    Could BT Sport be leaving Virgin and going streaming only??

    • Staff Notice

    Eventually, everything will be streamed, but I would be surprised if the change happened right now.


    There is no reason to believe that a move to streaming only would be denied to Virgin anyway. BT couldn’t afford to lose its Virgin customers.

  • The VM-BT deal gave BT immediate eyeballs and reach when they launched, and still does since it's part of bigger packages and people have access who wouldn't subscribe separately. Though BT may be in some respects losing out on maximising revenue because of the bulk buy discount, they'd also risk losing a large guaranteed revenue stream if they didn't continue the deal.

    • Staff Notice

    Could BT Sport be leaving Virgin and going streaming only??

    Not sure, but weren't BT looking to offload their sports channels a month or so ago, or is that my imagination?


    With Amazon getting seriously involved in sports, BT has no chance to compete against them or the other tech giants, so at least "some" changes must be imminent.

  • Not sure, but weren't BT looking to offload their sports channels a month or so ago, or is that my imagination?


    With Amazon getting seriously involved in sports, BT has no chance to compete against them or the other tech giants, so at least "some" changes must be imminent.

    They were thinking of offloading a share of their venture, not the whole thing. Some initial interest from some supposedly interested parties died away.

  • Didn't they say that they were open to sell all or part of it? Either way, I think that they were sounding the market out to see what interest their was.


    As you say, nothing seems to have come of it, which is why I think that there is a possibility that they might take it streaming only to cut costs and make it (more?) profitable.

  • Didn't they say that they were open to sell all or part of it? Either way, I think that they were sounding the market out to see what interest their was.


    As you say, nothing seems to have come of it, which is why I think that there is a possibility that they might take it streaming only to cut costs and make it (more?) profitable.

    Streaming doesn't necessarily cut costs. I'm oversimplifying it here, but if you want to provide 500,000 people you need equipment to provide 500,000 streams, whereas traditional broadcast transmission you transmit it maybe once and it gets to everyone in that area no matter if it's 1 person or 1 million or the entire UK. The latter is often cheaper.

  • Some more titbits...


    Apparently, the BT Sport & Virgin Media contract started three years ago today.


    Also, Sky dropped WWE and then BT took on the rights to show it. Comcast took over Sky, Comcast launched Peacock in the states, WWE Network was made exclusive to Peacock and yesterday Sky announced that Peacock was coming to Sky customers...

  • Streaming doesn't necessarily cut costs. I'm oversimplifying it here, but if you want to provide 500,000 people you need equipment to provide 500,000 streams, whereas traditional broadcast transmission you transmit it maybe once and it gets to everyone in that area no matter if it's 1 person or 1 million or the entire UK. The latter is often cheaper.

    Something else to think about is that streaming cuts out the middleman and allows BT to keep 100% of the subs.


    It would seem a bit sudden for BT Sport to go streaming only though and I do tend to agree with others that have suggested that this is more likely to be another Virgin Media carriage contract dispute situation.


    Maybe it's another example of content owners asking for an unreasonably high amount because they don't really want to renew the contract?? Maybe BT are not willing to enter into a lengthy contract if they do intend to make it streaming only??

  • Something else to think about is that streaming cuts out the middleman and allows BT to keep 100% of the subs.


    It would seem a bit sudden for BT Sport to go streaming only though and I do tend to agree with others that have suggested that this is more likely to be another Virgin Media carriage contract dispute situation.


    Maybe it's another example of content owners asking for an unreasonably high amount because they don't really want to renew the contract?? Maybe BT are not willing to enter into a lengthy contract if they do intend to make it streaming only??

    Most of the subs, there are scenarios where others still get a cut.


    Contract negotiations are getting done regularly, most don't result in a contract dispute. Businesses won't get far if they approach everything they do in a negative or hostile manner.


    There was speculation Disney asked for high amount so they could go in full-on with the launch of Disney+ in various regions worldwide. No idea if it's true.

  • True, if the streaming service did come to Virgin, they would want a cut of the subs.


    IIRC the reason that Disney+ didn't join was because Virgin wanted too much of a cut.


    I've just been reading that BT Sport no longer has some of the rights that they previously had.

  • True, if the streaming service did come to Virgin, they would want a cut of the subs.


    IIRC the reason that Disney+ didn't join was because Virgin wanted too much of a cut.


    I've just been reading that BT Sport no longer has some of the rights that they previously had.

    That's normal Sports Provider churn. They all are continually gaining, losing or allowing to expire Sports Rights. It's like the lyrics to the children's song "in, out, in, out, shake it all about...". They are constantly looking for up and coming events to keep their lineup looking fresh, allowing rights that haven't delivered the expected response to expire and balancing the budget as bigger sports get greedy and ask for more.


    Sky had NBA, then BT had it, then Sky got it back. Sky had all the main tennis outside the majors, BT took the main Women's tour leaving Sky with the Men's, Sky didn't renew the Men's tour and Amazon took a punt. Netball gets surprise success at Olympics, Sky buys coverage for Mix. Most of the snooker seemed to be on BBC at one point, now it's also on Eurosport and (to a lesser extent) Freesports.


    Virtually every sport has bounced about.


    If you're a fan of anything that isn't football, you get used to moving around. There are a lot of people in that situation.


    I watch a lot of sports, and yet I have neither Sky (except Mix, not a separate Premium channel) or BT.

  • After recent indications that DAZN is making a serious bid for BT Sport, Discovery has now indicated that it is interested.

    Lets see if a bidding war breaks out between Discovery and DAZN as they are clearly both interested in BT Sport.

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