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BT Sport: free content is a longterm priority

At the Digital TV World Summit, London

Head of BT Sport Simon Green revealed aspects of BT Sport’s long-terms strategy speaking at the 2013 Digital TV World Summit in London this morning.

Acknowledging the challenges presented by taking on a sports broadcasting behemoth like Sky (on a broadcasting battlefield Green characterised as “littered with the bodies” of other competitors), Green emphasisied that the uppermost priority for the telco-turned-telco/broadcaster was the rapid establishment of a credible brand.

Its widely discussed acquisition of UEFA European football rights, he stressed, was only part of the policy, and that original content – such as the channels sports entertainment shows – and other quality brands (such as its recently acquired UK NBA rights: “a big value brand for us”) were central to ensuring that the standard of programming was consistently high whenever viewers happened to tune in.

BT Sport, said Green, had made the “personality” of its presenters and programming another high priority, while its stated intent to “give sport back to the fans” was as much part of its long-term strategy as it was a marketing concept.

“We were able to go to UEFA with a proposition that we would be able to offer matches that were free to air alongside those behind the paywall. It’s a very important thing for us to make sport accessible,” Green told the audience at the Hilton DoubleTree in London’s West End.

Ratings, he added, have compared “very favourably,” with Sunday’s viewing figures for Manchester United-Tottenham clash peaking at around 1.1 million. “What we ultimately want to do as BT is improve customer perception by acquiring this content,” he emphasised. Regardless of their outlay, few could question their success in this area.

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