UK telecoms operator BT has appointed the head of production for the BBC’s London 2012 Olympics coverage as chief operating officer for its new sports channel.
Jamie Hindhaugh will join BT next month and oversee the launch and day-to-day running of the new channel, following the telco’s recent raid on live Premier League Football and Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage.
Though a launch date and details of the channel branding are yet to be confirmed, BT’s sports rights kick in from the 2013/14 seasons for both football and rugby.
BT Vision CEO Marc Watson said Hindhaugh will “help us set up and deliver a fantastic quality broadcast channel, which will be distributed across a wide range of platforms. Jamie’s job will be to build the channel over the next few years into one that is loved by many sports fans.”
In June, BT paid £246m (US$401m) for the rights to show 38 live games of Premier League Football per season as part of a three-year deal. Earlier this month it shelled out £152m for exclusive live rugby rights as part of a four-year deal.
Hindhaugh said his new role “addresses the ‘where do you go from there?’ question after the London 2012 Olympics.” Roger Mosey, who was the BBC’s director of London 2012, recently stepped into the role of acting director of BBC Vision, after George Entwistle was promoted from the production arm to director general.
The appointment comes as BT moves forward with its commitment to YouView – the next generation version of DTT platform Freeview – that it backs alongside the four UK terrestrial TV networks, rival telco Talk Talk and broadcast infrastructure firm Arqiva.
Though BT already offers TV services, including a set-top box, through its BT Vision television package, from next month it will also offer YouView, targeted at new and existing internet-only customers.
BT Infinity broadband customers will be able to receive a free YouView box as part of a £18 per month internet package. Existing copper wire BT internet will also be eligible for a free YouView box if they agree to pay an extra £4 per month for a ‘TV Essential’ package.
BT will continue to offer BT Vision separately, though it is expected that as more content becomes available to YouView, it will transition to a single YouView-powered TV offering. Currently Vision customers can pay to access Sky Sports and ESPN, neither of which are available through YouView.