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BT builds on BSkyB rivalry

UK telecoms giant BT has revealed its best third-quarter consumer revenue for a decade as its battle with satcaster BSkyB over sports rights begins to pay off.

The firm, which now operates a range of sports channels as well as telecoms services, saw its consumer revenue rise by 6% during the quarter, largely because of a surge in multi-media customers taking up its broadband packages.

BT added 150,000 new subscribers during the period, attracted by access to its sport channels and top-flight UK soccer games. The firm outbid Sky for 38 Premier League matches last year and more recently signed a deal for almost £900m (US$1.48bn) that saw the UK satcaster lose its rights to broadcast Champions League football.

BT also revealed its overall quarterly revenue had grown for the first time in nearly five years to £4.6bn, up 2%.

Its results come a day after Sky said rights and content costs cut operating profits by 8% for the six months to the end of December.

The pay TV firm is fighting back against the loss of its sports rights with an increased push into drama, and yesterday announced a deal that will see it expand its current agreement with US-based broadcaster HBO.


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