Concern at BT football tactics [Scotland on Sunday]
(Scotland on Sunday Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TELECOMS giant BT unveils second-quarter results on Thursday amid concerns that it has overestimated the size of the market for its TV sports channels as it vies with BSkyB over English Premier League football coverage.Analysts at UBS have downgraded shares in the company, judging that it may struggle to make good its major investment in the project.BT has paid GBP738 million for the rights to show 38 top-flight football games a season for three years. The group said earlier this year that it expected profits in the second quarter to 30 September to take a GBP100m hit as it starts to recognise programme content costs.But BSkyB has shrugged off the competition, announcing earlier this month that record numbers tuned in to the start of the football season - with an average audience of 1.55 million compared with 1.29 million last year.Figures show BT has achieved average audiences of 588,000 for Premier League matches, less than the 641,000 average achieved last season by ESPN.But it points out that it has a higher audience share, averaging 4.95 per cent of around nine million viewers watching TV at lunchtime when its games are shown, compared with ESPN's 2.8 per cent of a total teatime audience that was twice the size.On average, City analysts pencilled in a 0.8 per cent drop in overall revenues for the quarter to GBP4.44 billion and adjusted profit before tax to fall 9 per cent to GBP555m.
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