Friday, April 12, 2013, 17:50
Earlier this week, BT criticised Sky for declining to carry ads for its forthcoming TV sports channels on Sky Sports. In fact, we’ve offered to carry BT Sport ads on all of our other channels but we think it’s absolutely reasonable for Sky Sports not to promote a direct rival. This is actually normal practice across the media industry and, in spite of its comments about Sky, BT itself refuses to carry our ads on its websites.
Today I wrote the following letter in response and we’ve submitted it to a number of newspapers who wrote about the issue.
BT complains that Sky has chosen not to carry advertising for its sports channels on Sky Sports. For us, this is perfectly reasonable given the billions that we have invested to build our brand. As one media buyer has observed, it would be a “bit like Tesco being able to advertise inside Sainsbury’s”.
We must correct BT’s assertion that it is “happy to take Sky’s advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours”. For the record, BT advertises on Sky every month of the year and can promote its sports channels on all of our channels except Sky Sports. More pertinently, Sky is blacklisted by BT from advertising on the web portal aimed at its broadband customers. This has been the case since we entered the home communications marketplace in competition with BT several years ago.
Instead of complaining, we got on with building a successful broadband business. BT, in contrast, has taken the well-worn path to Ofcom’s door and compared itself to “a new born puppy”. Before honing its soundbites or filing yet another complaint, this £22 billion gorilla in puppy’s clothing would do well to look at its own double standards.