Nearly two million UK homes consider ending broadband and TV bundle | Media Analysis | Business
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Research from UK independent online service provider Zen Internet is claiming that following the prolonged period of people being stuck at home due to the lockdown, the era of the broadband and TV bundle is nearing an end.
Sky BT 21Feb2020
The ISP used consumer omnibus research conducted by Opinium between 14–17 July 2020 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,002 UK adults. It also analysed TV consumption habits in August 2020 using viewership data from UK measurement firm BARB surveyed between 23 March and 12 July. All channels were grouped by television service provider to estimate the total number of hours watched by package and viewership data was overlaid with television subscription prices sourced from provider websites to calculate the overall cost per hour of television watched by provider.

Fundamentally, Zen found that that as many as two million households out of a total of ten million UK households that have a TV and broadband bundle are considering unbundling from their deal due to a lack of value, with 1.7 million already having done so.

Over a million and a half (1.6 million) homes have signed up to a streaming service during lockdown and intend to keep it. A further 1.6 million households were also considering increasing the number of subscriptions they have over the next 12 months.

Young people were found to be much more likely to subscribe to a streaming service, with 76% of 18-24 year olds paying for Netflix (50% average), 51% paying for Amazon Prime TV (38% average) and 28% paying for Disney+ (16% average). Over a quarter (28%) of houses had at least one streaming service alongside the TV Licence, amounting to 7.7 million households. A further 6.1 million households had two streaming services, while three million owned three streaming services.

As a way of assessing value, the survey found that streaming services cost on average 23p per hour watched, just over half the average for TV and streaming subscriptions combined (41p). Sports packages (£1.30) found to be most expensive at five and half times the average streaming cost. Moreover, while it said that the UK was clearly in a streaming era, the study found that consumers were in danger of losing track of costs. Many households do not keep on top of their subscriptions, with 1.3 million having no idea when their annual TV subscription ends and 800,000 never paying attention to changes in the price of their streaming service subscriptions.

Yet despite the costs, the survey found that some UK viewers were still willing to pay for fear of missing out. Almost three million households felt they pay too much for their TV services but still did not want to lose access to them. This said Zen was backed up by further evidence with sports channels such as Sky Sports (73%) and BT Sport (67%, both pictured) rated as important packages despite their high cost per viewing hour. When it comes to children’s entertainment, less than half (47%) of households viewed dedicated kids’ channels as important, despite their relatively low cost-per-hour value of 16p per hour.

Commenting on his firm’s study, Richard Tang, Zen Internet founder and chairman said that it was vital that consumers take the time to understand when they’re subscriptions are due to end or face being tied to packages they don’t want for another year, or indeed significant price hikes as soon as they are out of contract.

“Even before the pandemic hit, it was clear to see viewing habits were changing with increased popularity of streaming services versus traditional TV packages,” he added. “However, there are still a lot of people that rightfully don’t want to lose out on their TV subscriptions. Fortunately, with the emergence of ultrafast broadband, consumers no longer need to be tied into broadband and TV bundles where they’re getting value from some channels, but not from others.”