According to industry sources, BT’s subscription base for Sky Sports channels will hit 60,000 or so by September. And if you believe what you read, that’s a disaster for the teleco, which has heavily promoted the arrival of football in its product range with a massive, £30 million campaign.
In case you’ve somehow managed to miss the TV ads starring the ever-more rangy looking New Man Kris Marshall, BT is now offering its broadband and home phone Sky Sports 1 from £6.99 per month.
Alongside those spots, there’s been a concurrent print campaign featuring the likes of Michael Owen, Shay Given and Wes Brown. Each of whom, it’s safe to assume, were paid a bit more than £6.99 for their services.
But are the take-up levels really the catastrophe for BT that we’re being led to believe? We think not.
For a start, the service has only been available for a month or so. In that timeframe, 60,000 customers actually seems like a goodish return to us.
That’s doubly true, given the timing of the arrival of Sky Sports as part of BT’s product offering.
Ordinarily a World Cup inspires a spike of interest in the domestic game. That then spurs a rise in subscription numbers for Sky. It’s one of the immutable laws of the sports broadcasting universe.
However, that’s reckoning without England’s abject showing this time around. After enduring the Algeria and Germany games, it’s perhaps to be expected that people might be slow to sign up for live coverage of the Premier League.
But as the cut and thrust of the season gets underway, you can bet their enthusiasm will return. And that’ll set the scene for a spate of BT Sky Sports subscriptions over the next few months.
Supporting that theory is data from Hitwise last week. According to the web trend monitoring company, Sky Sports was among the most searched for terms on the web last week.
One in every hundred searches related to Sky Sports. And search volume for the phrase rose 38 per cent in the seven days before the inaugural Spurs and Man City fixture.
The other factor that might have limited take-up thus far is that consumers could be confused by the panoply of choices they’ve got now. With games spread across four Sky channels and ESPN, it’s not hard to see how that might be the case. And complicating things further is how many bundle combinations on offer across Virgin Media, BT and Sky, which makes it harder to find the one offering the best value.
If you’re among those who are baffled by broadband and football offers, fear not. This week we’ll be launching a dedicated page that will detail simply but comprehensively everything that’s on offer to help you compare what’s out there and find the best offer for your needs.