U.K. Regulatory Board Approves Warner Bros. Discovery, BT Group Joint Sports Streaming Venture

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has approved the BT Group agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery to form a 50/50 joint venture (JV) company that will create a new sports streaming offering for the U.K. and Ireland.

The decision now allows BT and Warner Bros. Discovery to complete the creation of the JV  in the coming weeks and for each of their assets to be transferred into the new company. BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will be brought together to form a sports streaming company with reportedly one of the most extensive portfolios of sports rights in the U.K. and Ireland. Both BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will initially retain their separate brands and product propositions in the market before being brought together under a single brand in the future.

“Combining the capabilities, portfolios and scale of BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will be a big win for fans in the U.K. and Ireland, offering a new destination that will feature all the sport they love in one place,” Andrew Georgiou, future board member of the JV and president and managing director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said in a statement.

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The board of directors of the JV will be equally represented between appointees of British Telecommunications plc and Warner Bros. Discovery. The first chairperson to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Marc Allera, CEO BT’s consumer division. The new management and delivery of the JV will be led by Georgiou, who will also be a member of its board.

“Today is a huge milestone, as we now look toward day one of the new business, which we hope to be in the coming weeks,” Allera said.

U.K. Pay-TV Operator BT Moving to Monthly Program Bundles

Taking a page from over-the-top video distribution, U.K. pay-TV operator BT is switching (beginning Feb. 21) from the traditional cable bundle to specific program packages priced on a month-to-month basis.

BT is also licensing Now TV from Comcast-owned Sky, enabling subscribers streaming access to myriad programming, including Netflix. The new range of program packages start at £10 a month ($13), increasing to £60 ($78) for the all-inclusive VIP package.

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The move comes as linear TV distributors continue to lose subscribers to lower-priced OTT video featuring programming without long-term contracts.

“Our new range of TV packs bring together the best premium services, fully loaded with a wide range of award-winning shows, the best live sports in stunning 4K and the latest must-see films — all with the flexibility to change packs every month — with quick and easy search to find what you want to watch,” Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said in a statement.

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Pay-TV ‘Terror’: British Telecom Streaming First Episode of New AMC Networks Drama Free on YouTube

In a first, British Telecommunications (BT) said it would stream the first episode of new AMC Networks original period drama, “The Terror” free on YouTube. The episode will be available for 24 hours on April 24.

BT said it marks the first time a primetime program has launched in the United Kingdom on YouTube ahead of its pay-TV debut.

“BT likes to break new ground and we are delighted to partner with our friends at YouTube to take the first episode of ‘The Terror’ to everyone in the U.K.,” Tony Singh, content director at BT TV, said in a statement.

The fictional series showcases the Royal Navy’s dangerous mission trying to discover the Northwest Passage. Frozen, isolated and stuck at the end of the earth, “The Terror” highlights all that can go wrong when a group of men, desperate to survive, struggle not only with the elements but with each other.

The series stars Jared Harris (“Mad Men”), Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”) and Ciarán Hinds (“Game of Thrones”), among others.

“YouTube is committed to working with partners to boost discovery and viewership of their content in fresh and innovate ways,” said Richard Lewis, manager of entertainment content partnerships, YouTube.

As previously reported, AMC made all 10 episodes of “The Terror” available to AMC Premiere customers on the night of the show’s March 26 pay-TV launch in the United States.

“Providing entire seasons of shows … is one of the ways we are continuing to evolve AMC Premiere and make it even more valuable for fans of AMC programming,” said Mac McKean, head of innovation at AMC.