Opinion: BT Vision isn't bad news for Sky

BT locks horns with Sky over football rights

So BT has struck a deal with Setanta to show live Premiership football over BT Vision . You'd have thought this would put the wind up Sky, especially since it worked with BT to buy the near-live package the phone giant also owns.

BT is sure to slightly undercut Sky 's Pay-Per-View game prices, as well. So, in the longer term, Sky's pricing might fall. That's good news for the consumer. But it's not, as many seem to suggest, bad news for Sky.

Sky is a premium service, offering not only the full range of sporting options but also huge movie choice - as well as hundreds of other miscellaneous channels.

Content is king. And BT's quantity just isn't quite there. True, Sky needs to provide more content delivery on demand, but this will come.

In terms of movies, sport or either, individually, BT Vision can't yet compete - especially in terms of choice. The service it is offering is 'Freeview Plus' rather than a Sky-beater.

Sports fans

If you're a sports fanatic, you'll want access to as many live games as possible. And that means Sky. Near-live doesn't really cut the mustard.

Setanta Sports doesn't have the range of other football - including Spanish leagues and the golden chalice of the Champions' League.

Of course, it's not only football. There's Sky's enormous stranglehold on cricket and golf. And in terms of films, BT will have to sign a great many more deals before it can match Sky Movies.

It's also about the quality of coverage.

Sky Sports has won over the sympathy of many viewers; originally maligned, quality coverage counts. For some time they've produced some of the best coverage in the business.

That's pushed the terrestrial broadcasters to do better. Setanta isn't as good as Sky Sports. It will also have to do better.

Dip in, dip out

BT rightly sees BT Vision appealing to 'dippers': people that don't want to commit big money every month, but appreciate that buying a movie over broadband is a lot easier than skipping to Blockbuster.

At the same time, BT glosses over the differences in what it will have on offer and what Sky provides subscribers with.

Quality as well as quantity, that's what you need.

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