Following the relaunch of BT’s TV service, the impact of the new terms and conditions are becoming clear.
BT TV customers can now access all of Sky’s premium TV channels via Now TV following the launch of a new cross-supply deal. But anyone taking BT up on the offer faces a loss of existing channels and there’s consequences for customers handing their Now TV account over to BT.
Anyone switching to the new ‘flexible’ pay TV packages will lose access to over twenty channels that are also available on Now TV or any of the new bolt-ons.
The affected channels form part of BT’s legacy “classic entertainment” package – following the changes viewers have to choose between staying on the classic package or moving to one of the new packages, such as “Entertainment”, “Big Sports” or “VIP”, that includes channels such as Sky Atlantic and Sky Sports Premier League.
- BT customers opting for the one of the new flexible packages will lose access to:
Comedy Central Extra
CI – Crime + Investigation
For example, viewers will have to decide whether gaining access to the full set of Sky Sports channels is worth losing Eurosport for.
(History will become available again in April to BT customers who have made the switch, when the service becomes Sky History and joins Now TV.)
The option to add-on BT Sport, children’s and HD & 4K channels as well as Netflix and Prime Video remains available to all BT TV subscribers, regardless of whether they choose classic entertainment or one of the new packages.
And for viewers making the switch, there’s new channel numbers to remember to access some services. While those on the classic package will be able to access Discovery on channel 322, viewers who’ve moved to a new package will have to access the channel on 350. Other services including MTV, Nat Geo WILD and Comedy Central are similarly affected.
Now TV vouchers
As part of the integration of Now TV into BT TV, customers with an existing Now TV account are being asked to transfer the Now TV account to BT so it can be billed together.
With many Now TV users making use of special offers and vouchers to get money off Now TV passes, it’s been confirmed that anyone transferring their Now TV account will have existing vouchers that have been applied to the account honoured. Once these vouchers have expired, new vouchers can’t be applied at the present time and subscribers will automatically default to the standard monthly rate for Now TV.
Reaction to the new terms and conditions have been mixed on social media with general confusion among some customers about the new options available to them and the small print attached to them.
Getting around the new restrictions
BT TV users with a separate Now TV account can still circumvent the new terms.
If they haven’t already made the move to one of the new packages, they can choose to:
- access the Now TV channels via the app instead of the channel list.
- forego the ability to record Now TV channels.
- opt to retain separate billing.
And as a result…
- continue receiving both the affected channels listed above and Now TV channels
- continue using discount vouchers for Now TV passes.
Competition for new customers
With BT and Sky now free to bundle their rival’s sports channels – joining Virgin and TalkTalk which previously were the only providers who could offer both BT and Sky Sports in one place – all pay TV providers are attempting to woo new customers, albeit some with lengthy contracts attached.
Anyone choosing a new provider faces some trade-offs: While BT now has access to all of Sky’s premium channels, Sky no longer has AMC from BT. 4K UHD services from either side are also not available. Only Virgin offers BT’s 4K UHD service. TalkTalk offers both BT and Sky channels, but only in standard definition.