Virgin Media customers celebrating the arrival of BT Sport may not have got quite the great deal they first assumed.
Since last week’s deal between the two broadband and TV rivals was announced, some Virgin Media customers have been asking whether they also get access to the BT Sport app and online player.
The answer is a resounding ‘no’’.
And that will decide which events Virgin Media customers get to watch.
The BT Sport app requires a BT login, available only to the firm’s broadband customers and to non-broadband customers who pay to watch the channels on their Sky boxes.
Because they don’t pay BT direct, Virgin Media users don’t get a login and so won’t be able to watch online at BT.com or via the app.
The good news is that the live BT Sport and ESPN channels are available through Virgin’s TV Anywhere service, though there’s currently no on-demand content available.
But the role of the BT Sport app isn’t just confined to watching the live channels and catch-up content.
Despite initial statements following its win of two Premier League rights packages, BT has opted not to build a red button facility for its channels. Instead any bonus content and overspill matches will be available through its app and website.
“There’ll be times when we stream sport events on the website and in the app, which you won’t see on our channels. When we do, we’ll flag them up beforehand and label them “digital exclusives”.”
And a BT spokesperson today confirmed to me that: “BT Sport digital exclusives are not available on Virgin’s service.”
This means BT has managed to secure a guaranteed income stream from its rival without selling the entire BT Sport experience, and ensures it remains the only place to see all the action.