Brits spend almost £400 a year on pay-TV – and only watch a quarter of it
James R | On 04, Dec 2014
British viewers spend almost £400 a year on pay-TV, according to new research from uSwitch, but only watch a fraction of what they pay for.
62 per cent of UK households pay for TV, spending an average of £33 per month, reports the price comparison site.
As winter arrives and people spend time on the sofa staying warm, that’s set to increase, with 14 per cent spending an average of £11 per month more on add-ons or upgrades to their packages – the equivalent of a total overall £78 million spend in the UK.
And yet, despite all these people signed up to pay-TV contracts, 30 per cent of them told uSwitch it isn’t good value for money. Indeed, on average, Brits only watch 25 per cent of the channels available, while 27 per cent of viewers watch just 10 per cent of all possible channels.
The stats follow similar findings from Simplify Digital, which found that pay-TV bills are rising as high as £100 a month in the UK.
Our conclusion was simple: in an on-demand age, where streaming media devices make set top boxes that lock you into contracts redundant, and services such as NOW and Netflix mean you can access premium content without a commitment to Sky or other providers, going VOD can be a way to save a significant amount of money. With monthly rolling subscriptions, you can chop and change regularly to avoid signing up to multiple services too.
uSwitch’s research suggests many are starting to reach the same conclusion: of those survey respondents who don’t go down the pay-TV route, 38 per cent said it was not good value for money, while 27 per cent said they opted not to because they could not afford it. 19 per cent cancelled a former subscription because they did not get enough use out of it or because it was too expensive.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, TV and broadband expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “What is abundantly clear from its research is that many households are shelling out for packages that don’t best suit their viewing needs. Sometimes it makes sense to buy add-ons, rather than upgrading your whole package; but if you’re buying box office films every week and you watch nothing else, for example, you’d be better off with a film-streaming service instead.”
For those who do go for the pay-TV route, Taylor-Gibson reminds them to keep a close eye on their deal: “Make sure you regularly review your bill so you can manage your spending and don’t lose track of any upgrades or add-ons to your account.”
The survey follows a comment from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, recently declared that broadcast TV as we currently know it will be dead by 2030.