U.K.'s BT to Offer Rival BSkyB's Movie Channels
LONDON -- Two of the U.K.'s biggest pay TV and broadband rivals on Monday unveiled a multiyear deal. Telecom giant BT and satellite TV powerhouse BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, said they will make the latter's Sky Movies channels available to BT TV subscribers.
While the two have been slugging it out in the sports-rights arena for over a year now with BT spending millions on rights for Barclays English Premier League soccer games and rugby rights, the rivals' new agreement will mean BT pay TV subscribers can add Sky Movies beginning on Oct. 26.
BSkyB has a growing wholesale content business as it continues to make its channels available to subscribers of other pay TV providers in Britain.
BT TV customers with BT Infinity broadband service will be able to access movies from across the 11 Sky Movies channels in standard definition. In addition to the live channels, they also get access to on-demand via broadband. For customers with regular BT broadband service, Sky Movies is only available on-demand.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Sky Movies claims to be the U.K.'s most popular subscription movies service, giving access to over 700 movies.
Titles include brand-new exclusive premieres every week from major Hollywood studios, including Walt Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros. and Universal. Sky Movies subscribers are offered titles at least 12 months before any U.K. online subscription service.
Premieres in October include Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables and Gangster Squad. Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi will debut in November on Sky Movies.
The deal with BT includes the Sky Movies Premiere, Sky Movies Showcase, Sky Movies Greats, Sky Movies Disney, Sky Movies Family, Sky Movies Action & Adventure, Sky Movies Comedy, Sky Movies Crime & Thriller, Sky Movies Drama & Romance, Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror and Sky Movies Select channels.
Alex Green, director of BT TV, said the deal "gives a tremendous boost to our BT TV film offering."
Sky commercial group director Rob Webster added: "We are pleased to extend the distribution of Sky Movies to BT TV customers. Following the conclusion of commercial negotiations, BT's customers can now enjoy access to the U.K.'s most popular subscription movie service. In helping even more U.K. homes enjoy Sky Movies, this agreement also supports our wholesale content business."