BT profits hit by launch of TV sports channels

31st October 2013, Comments 0 comments

British telecoms company BT reported on Thursday a drop in quarterly profits after its entry into the market for the broadcasting of live television sport, notably English Premier League football.

Pre-tax profit dropped 10 percent to £499 million ($800 million, 584 million euros) in the group's second quarter, or three months to the end of September, compared with the equivalent period in 2012, BT said in a statement.

"BT Sport has made a confident start," said BT chief executive Gavin Patterson, who took over from Ian Livingston in September.

"More than two million of our customers are signed up to it and our wholesale contract with Virgin Media means it is available to around four million homes in total," he added in the release.

Underlying earnings -- or profit before interest and tax, as well as depreciation and amortisation of assets (EBITDA) -- fell 4.0 percent to £1.434 billion in the reporting period.

"EBITDA decline reflects the expected BT Sport investment," the statement said.

Group revenue was flat at £4.49 billion in the second quarter.

BT, whose mainstay is providing telephone and Internet services to households and businesses throughout Britain, is competing with established British pay-TV satellite broadcaster Sky and cable giant Virgin Media to attract Premier League football fans to its new sports channels that began broadcasting earlier this year.

Overseeing his first set of results as head of BT, Patterson said: "I feel privileged to be the new CEO of BT and am determined to build on the strong foundations that are already in place."

Livingston left BT to become Britain's trade minister.

© 2013 AFP

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