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Survey Claims UK Homes Losing Interest in Broadband and TV Bundles

Thursday, August 27th, 2020 (9:51 am) - Score 5,573
Television iptv video streaming uk

A new Opinium survey of 2,002 UK adults, which was commissioned by ISP Zen Internet, has claimed that 2 million of the 10 million UK households that have a broadband and TV bundle are considering unbundling themselves from the package “due to a lack of value” and 1.7 million have already done so.

The rise in cheaper video streaming services (NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ etc.) takes much of the blame for this, with Zen claiming that streaming services offer the “most value for money” (i.e. the average service costs subscribers just 23p per hour watched, which is a lot less expensive than the average sports package at £1.30).

On the flip side 2.9m households feel they pay too much for their TV services, but admit they don’t want to lose access to them. This is backed up by further evidence with sports channels, such as Sky Sports (73%) and BT Sport (67%), rated as important despite their high cost per viewing hour.

However, when it comes to children’s entertainment, just 47% of households viewed dedicated kids channels as important, despite their relatively low cost-per-hour value (16p). We suspect that if young children were asked the same question, instead of adults, then the response might be a little different.

Streaming Statistics

* During the COVID-19 lockdown over lockdown 1.6 million households signed-up to a new streaming service and intend to keep it. A further 1.6m households are also considering increasing the number of subscriptions they have over the next 12 months.

* Young people are 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).

* 28% of houses have at least one streaming service alongside their TV licence, amounting to 7.7 million households. A further 6.1 million households have two streaming services, while 3 million have three streaming services.

* 1.3 million households have no idea when their annual TV subscription ends and 800,000 never pay attention to changes in the price of their streaming service subscriptions.

Richard Tang, Founder and Chairman of Zen, said:

“Even before the pandemic hit, it was clear to see viewing habits were changing with increased popularity of streaming services versus traditional TV packages. 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. Today, consumers should know they can pick and choose their channels and services without being tied to a bundle, including their favourite sports packages, making use of a separate broadband connection that reliably underpins it all.”

One problem with all this is that individual streaming services rarely provide the same amount of content as a traditional TV subscription, which can include hundreds of premium channels. As a result, it’s often necessary to subscribe to several streaming services and even then, you won’t get everything. Suffice to say that streaming alone is not a complete answer and the extra choice also makes it harder to find the content you want.

As you might expect Zen Internet probably has somewhat of a vested interest in casting shade over TV bundles because they don’t offer a traditional Pay TV solution of their own, although they do make some fair points.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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42 Responses
  1. James™ says:

    Even if you want a TV bundle you shouldn’t need be tied into their broadband service.

    I think sky are the only provider that you don’t need to take Broadband.

    1. Simi says:

      You don’t need it with VM either. The services have always been separately available

    2. Simi says:

      Although I think VM dumped their TV having it’s own connection and screwed it all up by putting it all into the hub.. If that’s correct then I retract what I just said

    3. Roger_Gooner says:

      Virgin Media provides a TV-only service with its TiVO STB, but once this is phased out all TV will have to be available with VM’s broadband. VM’s Pay TV competitors also require broadband for their hybrid STBs to work with BT and TalkTalk requiring subscribers to take their broadband and only Sky giving the option to use a non-Sky broadband provider.

      Although some peoples’ needs are satified with Freeview/Freesat from Sky/Freesat plus devices such as Roku, Fire TV and Now TV providing OTT services, it’s clear that there remains many who have to stay with their ISPs’ bundled services. Let the market decide what will happen.

  2. muffin says:

    A few years ago Virgin Media offered me a good deal on the 350 package but I HAD to get TV with it.

    I kept telling the person upselling me that I wouldn’t use it. Come contract renewal the only way I could get a decent price for the higher speed was to do the whole cancellation dance. All of a sudden I can now get that speed for cheaper and without TV.

    I’m less annoyed about the fact I was paying for a service I don’t use but more that I have to store a useless piece of tech in my house. That’s so wasteful. Why spend the money to give me kit that goes to the tech recycling dump? Virgin told me they’d send me a box to post back the equipment but they never did.

    1. Graham Thomas says:

      I got the VM 350 package without TV in 2019, so things have moved on.

      Generally, TV is rubbish on terrestrial, so I’m happy with Netflix and Amazon streaming. I don’t see a need for TV bundles if I’m honest.

  3. Yilang says:

    maybe because all the ISPs are trying to squeeze 24mnths out of people now.

    or if you want 500mbit virgin you have to take their TV and phone too which a lot of people like me have no interest in. plus there are those of us who can’t get all these fancy packages and only feel like we’re forgotten about when towns with 20 people in them who think they’ve already got fibre and don’t know the difference all get hooked up with gigabit fibre. you kinda feel why isn’t my town on the list.. why isn’t more being done to bring fibre to other towns.. then someone in the comments accuses you of being a special snowflake and what makes you so special and you should therefore not comment on the state of broadband apparently because reasons.. i’m sure someone will explain shortly. I love networks, getting tired of ISPs because ill probably never see real fibre at gigabit speeds until i’m old and grey.

    1. Wxc says:

      False, 500Mb is available as a solo package now in areas where the 35Mb upload is available.

    2. Graham Thomas says:

      AS WXC says, but £77.00 a month they quoted me!

  4. Phil says:

    Funny how the study paid for by an ISP that has no bundled TV packages to offer reports their study finds Homes losing interest in bundled packages. So their message being buy from us because you don’t need a TV package as our study finds other people are losing interest and you should as well.

    Its the same marketing trick used by door to door double glazing or similar sales people, they normally start with “We’ve just put in new windows for a neighbour up the road and are in the area…”

    Is there a survey into how many people are losing interest in surveys by Zen’s PR machine?

    1. Surplus says:

      As far as we know, the ISP didn’t pay the surveyed to give favourable answers, so your statement is kind of meaningless.

    2. cdh1981 says:

      You seem to have some pent up anger there, Phil.

      Paying too much for your bundled TV and Broadband package, perhaps? 😉

  5. Demos says:

    During covid had emergency move due bottom of the house coming from its structure I was with virgin media when I tried to move services to new address I was told didn’t provide my new address so I had to discontinue services which they landed me with £250 pounds which they charged me to the end of contract now because of the that I won’t join any other services due to incase I have to move suddenly or a crisis happens I don’t want to be landed with a debt I don’t really need .I have a fire stick for TV a mobile phone which they is lot cheaper then me being on any paid WiFi or TV bundle and not to funny but I can take it with me have no nasty bills at the end of it.

    1. NE555 says:

      > now because of the that I won’t join any other services due to incase I have to move suddenly or a crisis happens

      Luckily for you, there are a number of ISPs who offer 1-month rolling contracts. You will pay more per month, but you have no long-term commitment.

    2. Graham Thomas says:

      I’m breathless reading that! Need a little bit of punctuation!

  6. Peach says:

    I haven’t had my TV plugged into aerial/sky/virgin for over a year now. Everything we watch is done over the Internet, its convenient and cheaper and the quality of programming is much better.

    1. Herve Shango says:

      And that’s how it should be, no one in their right mind should waste money on a fixed phone line.

    2. Simi says:

      Don’t you mean the TV Herve?

  7. Herve Shango says:

    I’ve always wondered why people waste so much money on phone lines (which are not needed in this day and age) all you need in today’s world is the fixed broadband and mobile broadband internet that is it really, I have not used a home telephone for years and haven’t looked back since then, smart phones have changed the game for life. Personally I will always look for new exclusive discount contracts for just broadbands and new deals from provider for new mobile contracts. That is all I need really ( I already own a powerful Laptop, console and smartphone now).

    1. Mark says:

      You do realise that some people where they live need a labelne,because of poor or non existent mobile coverage, the telephone exchange they are connected to might not offer services you have and boast about, smartphone is useless if you live in a non data service area! Yes some areas of the UK aren’t bathed in technology.

    2. Nobroadband says:

      You live in a different world to me. A fixed line is the only communications we have.
      Broadband is intermittent and a mobile signal is something you get when visit the local town.
      So I am amazed how anyone can live without a fixed line telephone

    3. cdh1981 says:

      “I’ve always wondered why people waste so much money on phone lines (which are not needed in this day and age) all you need in today’s world is the fixed broadband”

      Because 9 times out of 10, you can’t get one (fixed broadband) without the other (fixed phone line). To get fixed line broadband (FTTC or ADSL), you need a fixed phone line either with the incumbent telco in your area or transferred over to your ISP. The only exceptions to this are FTTP connections or Virgin.

      Mobile data coverage/speeds are still poor in a lot of areas (even in cities).

  8. Roger_Gooner says:

    Does this mean that Zen, which was selling Netgem TV as late as last month, has pulled its toe out of the Pay TV market?

  9. RegorImabitbackward says:

    If I am to believe what I’m told 95% of my favourite TV can be got for free via freeview via an aerial failing this freesat offers a similar line up, so my question is this why, do ISP companies try to sell me something I can get for free, usually with unwanted channels thrown in O.K. you get some sort of box with some built in features but most modern smart TV’s have most if not all built in and with catch-up available do you need a record facility I have a NowTV pass for sports so why pay ISP prices and be locked into some contract. beats me?

    1. Phil says:

      You certainly do need a recording facility as commercial channels force you to sit through minutes and minutes of adverts and they become very intrusive on catch up systems where you can’t skip them. Whilst I understand the adverts help fund the station, I’m already helping to fund the commercial channels through the licence fee, and I can’t afford to give up 20 minutes of my time to their adverts during a 60 minute time slot on catch up or on broadcast TV.

      The problem with advertising on TV is that it is the only industry that when supply outstrips demand, they add more supply. So commercial stations seeing a drop in revenue from advertising increase the break times and sell more advertising, but can’t demand such a high price for the advert slots because they need the time filled and advertisers aren’t going to pay a premium for 30 seconds at the end of 4 minutes of adverts where hardly anyone is left paying any attention! Once they’ve pushed the break times as far as legislation allows they campaign to increase the amount of breaks they can include and bring in sponsorship messages etc, then wonder why there revenue drops even more and people are turning to other sources for media.

    2. CarlT says:

      ‘Whilst I understand the adverts help fund the station, I’m already helping to fund the commercial channels through the licence fee’

      I thought commercial channels were funded commercially?

    3. cdh1981 says:

      “Whilst I understand the adverts help fund the station, I’m already helping to fund the commercial channels through the licence fee…”

      No, you’re not.
      All the license fee pays for is BBC services (TV, Radio, iPlayer, etc)

  10. JmJohnson says:

    Fair points…
    I don’t want a bundle package but my aggregated household internet use isn’t suitable to use streaming as a TV replacement.
    Until FTTP is available I’m stuck with a bundle.

  11. Alex Withington says:

    Bundling TV channels can make sense, but only if they contain the things you are actually interested in.

    We’ve developed a brand new site, which will show you the best deals based on the programmes or channels you want to watch – it’s here at http://www.switchtv.co.uk

    1. Name says:

      I didn’t find it useful at all. I picked three channels, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Cinema and it tells me that I have to take bundle with 100 other channels I am not interested in. This is something I knew without visiting this page and this is a common issue with TV content producers. They sell channels in bundles to operators like Virgin or Sky, you can’t have just 5 different type/genre of channels because each of them are in bundles with 20 other channels you have to pay for.

  12. Buggerlugz says:

    Can’t understand why ANYONE would pay for any tv package. Its not like there is much worth watching on TV anyway.

    1. Name says:

      Agree. Netflix, Amzaon Prime + FTA is enough. The biggest issue is useless landline you have to pay to get broadband. I didn’t make or receive a call using my landline for 6 years now.

    2. Peach says:

      @Name you have to pay line rental because you are renting the physical medium which transports your broadband,it is called line rental because it is a physical line. Try SOGEA or SOGFAST if you don’t need a land-line, you’ll find the costs are similar if not the same.

    3. Name says:

      @Peach: I know, but it doesn’t cost that much. Firstly it was a payment for landline, then they’ve changed that to line rental.

  13. supergarbage says:

    broadband in england is super garbage and unreliable

    1. CarlT says:

      My lines both seem okay to be honest.

    2. GNewton says:

      This needs to be qualified: Fibre broadband lines are usually quite reliable, whereas copper-based lines can often be unreliable. Unfortunately, in this country the majority does not yet have fibre broadband services.

    3. Roger_Gooner says:

      My broadband, delivered over the HFC network, is uber reliable.

  14. Mark says:

    I moved to Zen Internet from Sky a year and a half ago and now use streaming services and a Freesat SAT->IP receiver for the advertisement infested channels! Why anyone would wish to spend additional vast sums of money on advertisements from TV providers is not known, maybe they like spending money on ads!

    1. Meadmodj says:

      Agree but its deeper than that. People are creatures of habit, like one remote, a familiar menu and reluctant to change. Their TV’s functionality is often duplicated and never used. In addition some buy 8k TVs only to select standard resolution channels. I find it bewildering sometimes but its their money. People rarely ask for advice and the salesman is happy sell pointing them at all the logos on the outside of the box whether they work together or not.

  15. Gary says:

    Whilst the kids channels might be cheap per hour, the problem is they are usually bundled to the end of a package. You want kids TV, you also have to have these 150 channels. It’s only on the streaming services where kids TV is available as it’s solo bolt on (now TV) or included as part of the programming mix (Netflix). And as for the bundles, if you look at the cost of just broadband V’s bundles of everything it’s usually cheaper to take everything and then not use the bits you didn’t want. Virgin Media are a good example of “terrible ” bundles. I want broadband. But it’s cheaper/same price to have TV as well. As it’s cheaper to have TV, can I get a kids package just kids, nothing else. Nope, Unfortunately the kids TV is only available with a bunch of other channels. Rather than being able to pick my exact bundle of what I want.

  16. Arthur says:

    I agree these company’s want you to bundle everything virgin is worst poor value over priced
    I wanted BB only but it was more expensive then taking phone and BB never used the phone
    Some times bundles work out a better value if on offer
    its always been the same you want to watch certain channels you have to take extra channels you don’t want
    Now most isp want to tie you in 24 month contracts

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