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Optical/IP

BT Creates Entertainment Division

LONDON -- BT today announced it is creating a new division called BT Entertainment within its Retail consumer business to drive BT's broadband activities in entertainment and education.

The new business will have a strategic brief to enable content providers to reach broadband customers through platforms and services backed by the quality of the BT brand. It will develop, license and bring to market content value added services such as on-demand music, gaming, TV and movies.

The CEO will be Andrew Burke, currently director of value added services at BT Retail. Andrew previously CEO of eVerger the media venture capital fund and before that COO of eVentures the internet capital fund owned by News Corporation and Softbank. He was also the founder and CEO of LineOne, the leading UK internet service provider, and established News International’s initial internet presence in 1995.

BT Entertainment, which will become operational on 1st January, will incorporate innovative services such as Rich Media – BT’s content platform business, Click & Buy – BT’s online payment system and BT Learning Centre – BT’s online learning offering.

BT has also announced that Dan Marks*, President of Universal Studios Networks UK, is to join BT Entertainment early in the New Year to lead BT's future interests in video-over-broadband services. He will report to its new CEO Andrew Burke.

Dan brings with him considerable knowledge and expertise in strategic development, content partnerships and in developing the opportunities enabled by new technologies.

Pierre Danon, BT Retail chief executive, said: "A focus on Entertainment Service is the natural next step for BT in driving further value for new and existing broadband customers. This is a truly exciting time for us as we feel that we are about to cross the chasm from an early adopter market to one which will fully embrace the full potential of broadband, a fledgling mass market.’

“Our customers are telling us that they want more, that fast access alone is not enough, and they are demanding more entertainment and communications services. The purpose of BT’s Entertainment Division is to meet those customer demands by developing, licensing and bringing to market, content value added services such as on-demand music, gaming, television and movies.”

Dan Marks added: "The setting up of this division shows BT's commitment to being at the leading edge of broadband developments in the UK and maximising the opportunities enabled within the home.’

"These are exciting times for BT and I look forward to contributing my experience and knowledge of the broader entertainment industry to shaping the future of BT in this new arena."

BT Group plc

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