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SBD Global/April 8, 2014/Media

BT's New TV Chief Delia Bushell Seeks Expansion Of Coverage Beyond Sports

New BT TV & Sport Managing Dir Delia Bushell "has promised to look beyond sports coverage after becoming the most senior executive to join the platform from rival Sky," according to Henry Mance of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Bushell said, “Sport may have grabbed the headlines recently, but the opportunity is far broader.” There "now is speculation that the telecoms group will start to commission original drama content to bolster its pay-TV offering." BT Consumer Division CEO John Petter said last week, “I wouldn’t rule it out at all. The question would be, could we ... innovate and create value for the rest of our business?” Berenberg analyst Barry Zeitoune said there had been a “potentially subtle change in rhetoric” at BT. Sky has "increased its emphasis on non-sports content." It has committed to spending £600M ($996M) in original programming from the U.K. this year, and "has secured rights to HBO’s programming" until '20 (FT, 4/7). In London, Christopher Williams reported Bushell will join BT "after a short stint" as Sky Italia CCO. Prior to that, the 41-year-old was at Sky "for more than a decade." Her last job "was director of broadband and voice, leading the company’s attack on the telecoms market" from '06-11 and "setting the scene for today’s fierce rivalry with BT." Bushell will report to consumer division CEO John Petter. As a former insider, Bushell’s appointment "is likely to irritate" Sky, which is "preparing for the next auction of Premier League rights at the end of this year." As well as developing BT Sport strategy, Bushell "faces a challenge developing the BT TV service." Although BT Sport has more than 2.5 million subscribers, "the majority receive the channels via a Virgin Media or Sky set-top box" (TELEGRAPH, 4/7).
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