U.K. cable provider BT has become the first cable company to join forces with Netflix, rather than fight them, by adding the online streaming right to their cable packages—for just £5.99 a month.
In a bold move, U.K. cable provider BT has joined forces with Netflix to offer the first ever cable TV package that actually includes Netflix streaming. The company is rolling out a new cable package that will cost a mere £5.99 per month—for the first 6 months only, of course, and will include BT TV, BT Infinity, Netflix, and YouView. The package through the promo is essentially offering subscribers the BT services for free with the caveat that they must pay for the Netflix portion of it.
In recent years Netflix has become increasingly ambitious with their expansion efforts, first expanding into the U.K. and then to the Nordic countries in 2012. Though welcomed by some countries, others were not happy to have the VOD giant’s streaming competition encroaching on their business. Recently though, more cable providers, such as Virgin, announced that they would soon offer an option for Netflix streaming. They have decided to embrace Netflix rather than fight them. They were not alone, as Samsung came out with their own Netflix-friendly option, offering Netflix through their Smart Cable Box.
“Having the Netflix app on a set-top box is a natural progression,” said Netflix CCO Jonathan Fiedland last month. “Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for consumers to enjoy Netflix while cable operators see value, too, because it makes their broadband service more attractive.”
These set ups were more of a teaming up rather than a joining of forces given that the catch saw subscribers having to pay for Netflix separately. Virgin had just offered up an easier connectivity method to get Netflix to subscribers’ television sets. Now it appears, BT’s got them beat. With their deal, customers pay for the Netflix part of the bundle through their monthly BT bill but, much like a cable subscriber would pay for HBO in the U.S., the difference is that Netflix still maintains the customer relationship, allowing consumers to cancel their service through the Netflix website at any time.
So what’s the catch?
Of course, there’s always a catch. As with most promotions, BT’s Netflix promo price doesn’t last forever. After the first six months, where subscribers enjoy their newfound ability to stream Netflix from their televisions at the click of a button, forgetting the horrid days of switching inputs and wires, BT’s fancy promotion will end. What does that mean? Well, essentially it means reality will have to set it. Instead of paying just £5.99 per month subscribers will have to pay their regular bill, with the additional £5.99 added in at the end.
It doesn’t end there, though. The particulars of the promotion are even more interesting—and when I say interesting, I mean expensive.
Existing BT broadband customers who wish to take advantage of the £5.99 per month Netflix promotion will only be eligible if they have 12 months remaining on their contract. If they don’t, they will be required to sign up for an additional 12 months. As with most promotions, for new subscribers to BT, there are set up fees. New customers will need to pay £49 for activation, then a £6.95 delivery fee for the BT Home Hub router.
Getting your calculator out? Good. After six months of that fancy £5.99 bundle, the price will change to £20.99 for the remaining 18 months that were mandatory for the contract and subscribers will also be required to pay an additional £5 if they wish to keep their BT TV starter pack.
What they say is true—all things come with a price. Pricy cable packages and promotions aren’t something new though, so we probably all saw this coming. There’s more to come too, as Netflix is currently striking more complex deals across Europe and also hopes to move into the cable market in the U.S. through a deal with Comcast.
This year Netflix invested $400 million to expand it’s reach into Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Only time will tell how cable providers in those countries will choose to forge their relationships with the VOD giant.