BT and Sky have struck a two-way deal to sell each other’s channels to their respective pay-TV customers.
The deal will see Sky add the full NOW TV experience to BT’s YouView set top boxes, bringing the full range of Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky entertainment channels, including Sky Atlantic, to BT households for the first time.
Although the NOW TV app is already available on BT set top boxes, content is limited to an on-demand version of Sky Cinema, and BT only has the rights to sell a single live Sky Sports channel.
Today’s deal means Sky’s full line-up of live and on-demand sports, films and entertainment content will become available on its rival’s platform.
Under the deal, BT will be able to sell NOW TV subscriptions to its customers, meaning there’s no additional bill needed, mirroring arrangements it has with Netflix.
In return, BT will wholesale its sports channels to Sky, allowing the satellite broadcaster to offer its customers BT’s exclusive coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Australian cricket. BT will continue to sell its channels direct to Sky households.
Today’s deal brings to an end years of on-off talks and regulatory appeals between the two rivals. Sky already has wholesale deals in place with Virgin Media and TalkTalk and the end of hostilities with BT means its channels will be available in all pay-TV homes for the first time.
Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, 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, Sky, said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
The deal is expected to take effect from early 2019.