Coronavirus prompts marked uptick of streaming, catch-up in UK households | Media Analysis | Business
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A survey from EY has found that the Covid-19 outbreak has already caused a shift in UK households’ digital activity with many people are trying online services for the first time, with video at the forefront of applications.
Imagen on demand 5March2020
According to EY’s survey of 2,000 UK consumers, network quality was top of mind among consumers with as many as two-fifths of households indicating that they believe that broadband and mobile network providers should focus resources on ensuring reliable and resilient services. Despite many people’s fear that infrastructures would buckle under the strain of millions more people than ever before using home networks, so far perceptions of broadband and mobile network providers are positive, with 75% and 73% of consumers respectively saying they are coping well since the outbreak of the virus. This reflects the confidence of network operators that their infrastructures can cope.

When asked about specific actions their service providers should take to help with the Covid-19 situation, ensuring reliable and resilient performance ranked as the top consideration for broadband providers (42%) and mobile providers (40%). EY said that concern around network underperformance was lower but still material; a quarter were concerned about a reduction in the quality of their broadband service since the start of the crisis. However only 11% of households saw a need to upgrade to full fibre broadband, while only 8% said the crisis has made purchasing 5G mobile more appealing.

The new normal has also seen many consumers are increasing usage of services they already have – 29% have used streaming TV services more often, 30% report an increase in home working via collaboration applications and 35% are making more mobile phone calls. Looking at all applications, video calling has shown the largest uptick, with 18% of consumers trying this for the first time, ahead of online shopping (9%) and watching catch-up TV (9%).

The survey also unearthed good news for telco and TV service providers in terms of customer loyalty. As many as 89% of households said that they were unlikely to switch broadband provider and 93% are unlikely to switch mobile and pay-TV provider due to the coronavirus situation. At the same time, more than three-quarters of households regarded their current packages as sufficient to meet their needs during the crisis (77% for TV and streaming services, 79% for broadband packages and 81% for mobile packages).

One interesting key concern revealed in the survey was news quality with half of people looking at news content more often since the crisis began. Just over three-quarters of UK households said public service broadcasters (PSBs) were coping well since the outbreak, and 40% say they relied more heavily on them for news content than before. By contrast, two-thirds of the survey believe social media platforms are not doing enough to limit the spread of fake news.

“We are seeing a step-change in demand for digital connectivity and content in the wake of coronavirus, as household behaviors adapt to these challenging times,” said EY global lead telecommunications analyst Adrian Baschnonga commenting on the survey. “Elevated levels of home working alongside a broadening range of online behaviours underline the importance of robust networks now and in the days, weeks and months to come.”