U.K. Telecom Giant BT Adds 97,000 Pay TV Subs, More Than in Year-Ago Period

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During the latest quarter, the competitor of Sky struck a deal for WGN America drama 'Manhattan.'

U.K. telecom giant BT said Monday that it added 97,000 pay TV subscribers in the fourth calendar quarter of 2015, more than in the year-ago period.

The period was the company’s fiscal third quarter. In the year-ago period, it had added 45,000 TV customers.

The latest quarter’s growth brought the competitor of pan-European pay TV giant Sky to a total of 1.4 million TV subscribers. “We had another good quarter of TV customer additions,” the company said. BT a few years ago for the first time won the rights to air some English Premier League soccer games, most of which air on Sky.

Sky added 205,000 subscribers in the U.K. and Ireland in the same quarter, making it the company’s strongest fiscal second-quarter performance in 10 years. The U.K. and Ireland growth included 146,000 TV subscriber additions.

During the latest quarter, BT struck a deal for WGN America drama Manhattan. With the pact, BT customers were “the first to see the critically acclaimed new drama” in Britain with its premiere on BT’s AMC channel on Jan. 5, the firm said.

BT Sport average audience figures increased 46 percent in the latest quarter, the company also reported. “Our free-to-air channel, BT Sport Showcase, showed a further 1 million households which don’t currently have BT Sport what they’re missing,” it said.

BT said that its quarterly pre-tax profit rose 24 percent to £862 million ($1.23 billion) and reported that it had its strongest revenue growth in more than seven years. Revenue grew 3 percent to $6.44 billion.

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