UK broadband television service BT Vision announced today it will offer Setanta Sports 1 for free to subscribers who sign up for one of the service’s new value packages beginning next month or subscribe to the current value pack. Those who want to take advantage of this offer will have to pay 10 pounds in order to get a Setanta viewing card for their BT box if they don’t have one.
BT Vision, which is available to customers who have BT’s broadband internet, combines a series of pay-tv packages and replay functions alongside Freeview, a free digital television service offered by several UK television companies including the BBC, ITV, and Sky. In addition to Setanta, BT was awarded the rights last year to show 242 Premier League matches on a same-day delayed basis along with Sky.
Setanta’s deal with BT Vision is the second bundling partnership the channel has lined up with UK television providers after last year’s deal with cable service Virgin Media. Setanta, BT, and Virgin are all part of a complaint against Sky with British regulator Ofcom over control of the pay-tv market within the United Kingdom.
Setanta in the UK is continuing its attempt to align the channel as a cheap alternative to Sky for soccer fans just as they add more depth to the channel with the FA Cup and England National Team matches. With slowing economic conditions and a marketplace that has mostly made the switch from analog to digital tv, it will be interesting to see where Setanta and Sky stand this time next year, when the next Premier League TV contract will be put on the block.