July 25, 2015

The BT Sports Europe verdict

The mighty readership of this blog has voted on the addition of BT Sports Europe to the XL TV package for a mandatory £3 for ALL customers - and you are most definitely not happy.
394 votes were cast in the poll I ran after it was announced that another sports channel was arriving but it was going to cost all customers on Virgin's top telly tier more, regardless of whether they wanted it or not. 68% said they were unhappy, 9% weren't particularly bothered one way or the other and less than a quarter were happy.
I don't think anyone's unhappy to see additional HD channels on cable, but clearly it's prospect of yet another price increase, and this one for a specialist (albeit probably popular) channel, that is the problem. And it sets a dangerous precedent: if Virgin starts bundling other specialist channels into its bundles and charging for the privilege, many customers will vote with their wallets and quit.
I like the Champions League and for me the new deal is good value. But if had been, say Sky Sports F1 I was being charged for I would have been seriously unhappy. I have no interest in F1 so why should I pay for it?
Virgin has most likely done the deal so that it can market the cost of BT's Europe channel as cheaper than Sky (simply by making sure all top tier customers fund it, not just those that sign up specifically for it) but that's not fair to many, many customers.
I think the days of channel bundling are numbered, especially as the noise of cord cutting gets louder, so is this is the latest evolution of the principle of bundling (i.e. us paying through the nose for channels we don't watch) or is the start of the desperate death throes of an outdmoded pricing model?

9 comments:

rowland2008 said...

very interesting points you make,if i were not a footie fan i would probably be spitting feathers at the price increase but as i love football but can't afford sky sports,currently £40 in HD on virgin,the £3 increase for a load more football for me is a bargain,true what you say about F1 i hate it.On the subject of bundles some years ago a bill was to be passed allowing people the freedom to pick and choose their channels,i have worked it out that up to 80 per cent of the channels i'm forced to pay for i have no interest in,apart from nat geo,discovery,fox,syfi,a bit of watch,and a few others i never use the rest i don't count free to air channels,the sooner they sort out this bundles mess the better in my opinion. David

Irishmanc said...

If Virgin Media were to allow you to pick individual channels and pay for them then likelihood is you could end up paying more like they do in the US, the channels you have mentioned are expensive channels and Virgin Media would have to charge you the cost of providing them. Bundling channels allows a provider to spread the cost of the most expensive channels over a wider subscriber base bringing the price down, I for one don't want to go onto the same sort of model as the US where they pay separately for HBO, Fox, CBS, etc. Have you ever looked at the cost of similar services in the US? They are extortionate, friends of mine that have moved from the US to the UK can't believe how cheap the top packages are with Virgin Media and Sky.

Irishmanc said...
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Irishmanc said...
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Ross Dunbar said...

It's possible we might see a return to genre bundles, not unlike the categories Nialli has listed on the front page. I'd be happy with that, so we get the best of both worlds.

Irishmanc said...

Sorry my post appeared 3 times so 2 removed

properrlfan said...

Virgin giving us all this sport. But no sign of Premier Sports Hd! If only it showed more Football there might be a chance we would get it!

Tyronne said...

For me it was the straw that broke the camels back - I called up and had all my movie channels and sports channels deleted from my account as I was simply not using them and by the time the phone call to virgin was over, I was £40 a month better off.

Ro-me-ro said...

The problem is, sky increase their prices once a year >> Virgin pass it on. BT will now increase their prices once a year >> Virgin will pass it on. Virgin will also increase prices once a year. All these increases are typically well above inflation.

For me this year Virgin +5.49, Sky +2?, now BT +3. That's about 10% for me... it's not on and not sustainable.