BT has confirmed that its TV customers will be able to watch the full range of Sky movie, entertainment and sports channels on their set top boxes from this week.
As first announced in December 2017, the two firms have ended years of hostility and agreed a content cross-supply deal which sees each offer their rival wholesale access to their channels.
The deal allows Sky to provide BT’s sports channels, which show around 50 Premier League matches not offered by the satellite broadcaster, WWF wrestling, UFC, rugby, plus the Champions and Europa leagues, direct to its own customers.
In return BT is able to sell entertainment channels such as Sky One and Sky Atlantic plus the full Sky Sports and Sky Cinema line-ups to its BT TV subscribers on flexible monthly terms using the ‘pass’ system offered by Sky’s Now TV streaming service.
Customers buying a pass from BT will be able to access live channels via their BT TV set top box’s EPG and will also be able to record programmes just as they can on any of BT’s own channels.
This gives BT TV a key advantage over other platforms offering Now TV which are restricted to offering non-recordable live streams of channels and on-demand access to programmes via an app.
The arrival of the expanded Now TV service also makes BT the only platform to offer Now TV, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix on a single bill and coincides with a wider overhaul of the ISP’s TV packages which now start from £10 per month including the Now TV Entertainment Pass and BT’s exclusive AMC channel.
Customers will be able to upgrade and downgrade their channel packs and add or remove streaming services at any time, ensuring they’re only paying for the content they want.
The new package line up is available from February 21st and includes:
|Entertainment (£10 pm) |
Offering the latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One, plus over 300 Box Sets on demand, all from the Now TV Entertainment Pass.
|Sport (£15 pm) |
All 4 BT Sport channels and BoxNation with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League with the best world-class sport from football to UFC and much more.
|Big Entertainment (£20 pm) |
The latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One with over 300 Box Sets and all Sky Cinema channels with over 1,000 movies on demand and over 40 new movies added every month from Now TV.
|Big Sport (£40 pm) |
The best of BT and Sky Sports. All 11 Sky Sports channels, bringing you the Premier League, Formula 1, golf majors and much more with the Now TV Sky Sports Pass. Plus, watch all 4 BT Sport channels and BoxNation with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League with the best world-class sport from football to UFC and much more from BT.
|VIP (£60 pm)|
For those who want everything TV has to offer and more. The latest award-winning entertainment and Sky originals from channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky One, all Sky Cinema channels with over 1,000 movies on demand, the biggest live events on 11 Sky Sports channels, all in full HD, from Now TV. Plus, watch all 4 BT Sport channels with exclusive Premier League games and every match of the UEFA Champions League in HD and access to BT Sport Ultimate in up to 4K HDR.
BT will be running a special launch offer of Superfast Fibre broadband and the new Entertainment Package for £37.99 per month.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division said: “Life doesn’t stand still from month to month, so we don’t believe our customer’s TV should either.
“Our new range of TV packs bring together the best premium services, fully loaded with a wide range of award-winning shows, the best live sports in stunning 4K and the latest must-see films – all with the flexibility to change packs every month – with quick and easy search to find what you want to watch.”
Marina Storti, Managing Director of Now TV, added: “There has never been a more interesting and dynamic time for the entertainment industry than right now and we’re so thrilled to be able to launch Now TV on BT at such an exciting time.
“With Now TV’s range of passes, BT TV customers will be able to enjoy our latest award-winning shows, blockbuster movies and top quality sports content with complete flexibility, so that customers can pay for exactly what they want.”
One media analyst described today’s news as BT’s “last ditch effort to be successful in TV”.
Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight said: “Aggregation is the holy grail. BT has done a superb job of introducing some novel features and bringing together key services all in one place. This will strongly resonate with users”
However he cautioned that BT TV “is unlikely to pose a considerable threat to Sky who in turn will be able to bundle BT Sport into its own packages.”
While such caution is justified, BT’s flexible terms and the ability to pay for multiple services on a single monthly bill could help the firm appeal to those who are either new to the world of streaming or who simply don’t want to manage multiple accounts.
Update: Asked how the new packages would impact BT TV’s existing customers and line-up of channels, a spokesperson told SEENIT: “Today’s announcement showcases the steps BT are taking to enrich its content offering for customers, creating new packages to give customers more choice and flexibility.
“Existing BT TV customers can of course stay on their current package and nothing will change for them on the 21st.
“However, from Friday, if new to BT TV, customers who want to take the current range of pay TV channels can take out the 24 months Classic Entertainment pack. This won’t form part of the flexible package range and Now TV passes can’t be added to it, however additional bolt-ons will be available for those who choose it.”