BT believes this is the year it claims British sport

Marc Watson chats Premier League, 4K and British tech

However there are still some worries that it might not stay that way. "It's not a short term gimmick, that's for sure," says Watson, though he adds that BT will review its pricing "next year" before making any further announcement. "But this is no short term gimmick, it's a proper price at this point," he reassures.

On the topic of innovation vs gimmicks, we ask him about the next evolution of media consumption - 4K. "We're interested in 4K so we'll have a look at that and see what that offers," says Watson, though when we mention 3D he's a little less enthused.

"Take up on the 3D has not been huge in the UK and I've noticed that ESPN in the States has just withdrawn its 3D coverage," he says. Indeed ESPN, one of the first big names to embrace the 3D format, announced in June that it will be pulling the plug by the end of the year. "I think 3D is not taking off in the way some people thought it might but we will continue to monitor it."

BT recently told TechRadar that it would be having conversations with Microsoft about putting its service on the Xbox One. Watson declined to say whether there had been any further developments, though he told us, "We are keen to get BT Sport out, and our other products too, out in the market as widely as we can, so we're talking to a number of companies about that."

Broader horizons

So, is BT the ultimate British success story? "In terms of BT, we are very much a British company," says Watson. "We're investing a lot in the UK but we're also very much a global business. We're a British company that's doing a lot overseas."

With its move into sports programming, BT's image is changing and evolving as the company continues to grow from its telephony roots. "I think the perceptions of BT are changing, I think people are starting to think about us differently," Watson tells us.

"About the company that does more than just telephony. That process has been going on for a while. But our involvement in TV and our involvement in sport has accelerated that process."

Marc Watson BT event
Sorry, you're not being clear enough. How much will it cost?

BT is also adapting to Britain's ever-growing catchup culture, with BT Vision helping the company to keep its finger on the pulse of the times. "We were the pioneers in this space," Watson is quick to jump in and highlight.

"We were the first national video on demand operator, we have a very strong catch up service, customers really like it and it's growing." But as he acknowledges, with viewer consuming habits changing so much, now is not the time to be complacent.

"The broadcast television remains very, very important so it's about having the right mix. And obviously for customers, flexibility is really what they want. They want a real breadth and depth of content and they want flexibility in how they consume it.

"So they expect to have the main channels, they expect to be able to record those main channels, they expect to be able to catch up on TV they didn't manage to record, they expect a good lineup of content, they expect a good lineup of live sports and other entertainment, and you know, they expect to be able to consume this content wherever they are on whatever device."

Britain on the tech scene

When it comes to the British tech scene as a whole, however, Watson feels like there's much more to play for. "I think there's more that [Britain] can do in the technology space, there's more we can do in the UK," he admits.

"There's a lot of talent in the UK, our creative industry is very strong, I think the opportunity for us to do more is there. I think we need to do more to attract international technology companies into the market, and we need to do more to encourage British companies to invest in product development and R&D."

When asked if there's anyone else in the tech space he's got his eye on right now, Watson stops to consider for a moment. "I think Imagination Technologies is really interesting," he responds. "They're doing a lot of interesting stuff. They're a British success story. I've watched them for a few years growing their business."

"And there's one British success story that we're very close to and that's the Premier League," he adds. "If you look back at its growth over the last ten years it has become a phenomenon. It's driving a lot of revenue back into the UK, and it's a real success story around the world, it's really dominating a lot of markets out there. So it's not just going to help us here in the UK, but it's a great story overseas too."

Whether or not BT can ride on that same wave of success come August, it'll to be an interesting spectacle to watch unfold. Right now, we'd say it's got a sporting chance.