So weeks of speculation is finally over – Virgin Media and BT have finally signed a deal which brings BT Sport and ESPN to the cable co’s customers.
Those Virgin Media customers taking its XL package will be pleased that they’ll continue to get UFC and Premier League action at no extra cost.
That’s a good deal for them but if you look carefully, there are hints that it’s cost Virgin dearly to offer this.
Remember, BT broadband customers can get access to the channels for free on a PC, laptop or tablet, on their TV if they have a BT TV package (starting from just £7 per month), or a Sky box.
Non-BT broadband customers with a Sky box can pay BT £12 per month for the channels or £15pm for the HD versions.
But Virgin Media customers aren’t getting the option of the cheaper £12pm standard definition channels.
Those who subscribe to one of its non-XL packages will have pay £15 per month for a standalone bundle which includes the HD versions, even if they don’t have a HD capable TV.
Either the absence of a £12 per month option means Virgin Media are paying a huge premium for the channels and are reselling them on very tight margins, or BT insisted on a pricing structure which meant buying direct remained the cheapest way of getting the channels.
Whichever direction the truth lays in, Virgin Media’s constant refrains of wanting to get the best deal for customers will seem a little hollow to non-XL customers forced to pay £3 more than anyone else for the channels.