The company says it had about 3 million direct BT Sport customers at the end of its last fiscal quarter (31 March), up from 2.5 million in the previous quarter. It has about 5 million in total when people who have access to the service through providers such as Virgin Media are added.
The numbers subscribing to the channel have been growing at about half a million a quarter since it began showing Premier League games in August 2013. The start of the season saw BT investing heavily in marketing its service to tempt football fans to sign-up and the company has continued to push the channel with tactical ads since.
BT’s decision to offer Sport free to broadband customers also appears to have lifted its share of the broadband market. The company says the net number of customers added in the year was 572,000 – a 69% share of the 826,0000 new broadband customers in the UK in the period, it claims. In its first quarter, prior to the launch of BT Sport, its share was 50% and 75% thereafter.
Broadband and TV success helped push revenue from its BT Consumer division up 4%, the first increase in 10 years.
The increase in revenue helped offset an increase in costs, including £450m on BT Sport. Pre-tax profit was flat at £2.3bn.
Rival BSkyB last week reported revenue for the nine months to 31 March increased 7 per cent year on year.