UK cost of living crisis drives TV priority shift | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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As they show strong desire for both broadcaster and subscription video-on-demand (BVOD, SVOD) services, the British watching public are backing British content and are even anticipate watching TV in the metaverse says the latest annual State of the Nation report from The Digital TV Group (DTG).
DTG SoTN 10May202
Now in its third year, the study considers the key trends in the TV ecosystem and the consumer pain points that need addressing. For the current study, the DTG commissioned independent research agency Future Source to survey more than 2,000 UK TV consumers in all age demographics, as well as senior leaders from across the TV sector.

A key trend highlighted was that strong BVOD and SVOD uptake was driving viewing of IP-delivered full-length TV programming. Both have close to 80% monthly adoption. However, free live TV channels is still the leading ‘go-to’ way to watch television programmes in the UK, with 30% of UK consumers saying this is their primary way to watch. Moreover, a quarter of consumers now watched advertising VOD (AVOD) services such as Rakuten TV or Samsung TV Plus at least once a month.

Despite the prevalence and impact of global video services providers, significantly more UK consumers prefer British TV shows over US/international TV shows, partly justifying the 29% increase in investment in UK high-end TV shows and movies in 2021 compared with 2019. In addition, 71% of UK consumers agree that it is important everyone in the UK has access to free, national television in the future, although only 54% of 16-24’s agree with this.

Consumers now expect all SVODs and BVODs to be available across all devices and would use this as a selection criterion when buying a new TV. However, energy efficiency and running costs have moved to second place in the priority list - behind smart connectivity and ahead of 4K UHD - driven more by the cost-of-living crisis than sustainability. Interestingly, since last year’s survey, respondents say the importance of a TV being pre-installed with SVOD apps has overtaken the importance of BVOD apps being pre-installed.

Inconsistent audio levels were a key and growing source of annoyance. Nearly two-fifths were interested in technology that would enable clearer audio when watching TV. The use of subtitles has also increased over the past year, from 40% to 44%, driven by SVOD users.

The report also suggested a shift in attitude towards watching content in the highest resolution possible. Only a third said watching in this way doesn’t matter, compared with 47% a year ago. However, only 24% are currently interested in watching 8K content on their TV. However, there has been a fall in those who would consider streaming at a lower quality to reduce emissions; just 1 in 4 would now, down from 40% a year ago.

Viewers noted a long-term move towards the metaverse is inevitable, but current consumer understanding of it, and what applications it could be used for, were low. 64% of UK consumers had heard of the metaverse, but most of those aware did not know what it was and only 7% have used a metaverse application. Watching TV is the most cited application consumers think they will undertake in the metaverse in the future, although only 1 in 5 say they will do this, highlighting confusion over potential use cases and adoption.

“The DTG annual State of the Nation research will focus our work with industry in this critical year as we respond to the government’s vision for the future of broadcasting in the UK,” said DTG chief executive Richard Lindsay-Davies commenting on the results of the State of the Nation report . “Together, we have a unique opportunity to address viewer needs and pain points and build a pathway to a vibrant market into the 2030s.”