BT Joins Virgin in Streaming Netflix
Netflix is officially the new darling of the pay-TV world.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) announced a partnership with the streaming giant this morning that will allow subscribers in the UK to bundle Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) with the BT YouView Internet TV service. BT said in its quarterly earnings report that Netflix will be available "alongside our other products and services, with the added convenience of paying on one bill directly through BT."
With the Netflix news, BT joins fellow UK operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) in offering access to the popular US video service. While it may look like the picture of parity between BT and Virgin, however, BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson threw in a dig at his regional competitor in a quote reported by The Wall Street Journal. "Rather than simply getting access to it as an app," said Patterson, "this is integrated into our proposition."
Like several other pay-TV providers, Virgin Media currently offers Netflix to subscribers as an app on its TiVo set-tops. (See TiVo Cable Partnership Pays Off.)
Netflix continues to gain ground in the pay-TV sector where it has now inked deals internationally with BT, Virgin and com hem AB in Sweden. In the US, success has been a little slower, but Netflix did notch a win with Suddenlink Communications back in May, adding the seventh-largest American operator to its list of primarily smaller-sized US pay-TV partners. Other Netflix pay-TV customers in the US include Atlantic Broadband , Grande Communications and RCN Corp. . (See Com Hem Rolls Out Netflix and Netflix Cracks Top 10 MSO.)
BT reported its Netflix partnership amid lower revenues in the second quarter.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading