Do your homework: a smarter way to watch TV?

Posted February 20, 2013 - Features

We recently commissioned some research, together with the Post Office, which looked at how people feel about their current entertainment package or ‘bundle’. This ranged from how much of the content that they are paying for are they actually watching to are they satisfied with their current service and whether or not they’ve read the small print

Recent data showed that over 95% of the most-watched TV programmes in the UK are available subscription-free on Freeview[1] . In this time of tightening purse strings, we thought it was only fair to highlight the issue of wastage and encourage due diligence from consumers before they sign on any dotted line.

In the current economic climate, the national conversation is usually around saving and making the most of what you already have – from saving money, to recycling clothes or opting for a staycation. So how does this apply to our entertainment choices?

We’ve included some of our findings below. If you recognize your own behaviour in any of these then it may be time to take a minute and ask yourself if your current set up is really meeting your needs. If it is, great – happy days! But if it isn’t then you may be need to do a bit of homework – which isn’t always fun but it does pay off in the end.

Key statistics[2] :

  • £8.1 billion a year is spent on TV, home phone and broadband bundles
  • £2.7 billion a year is spent on unwatched pay TV channels (£199.32 per home)
  • Over two thirds of people surveyed don’t use all the broadband capacity they’re paying for (69%)
  • A third (34 per cent) of people are dissatisfied with their current bundle
  • 42 per cent of bundle users are hit with higher than expected bills
  • Three quarters (72 per cent) of people find small print so difficult to understand that they didn’t read it fully

We worked with Professor Alison Black, Director of the Centre for Information Design at the University of Reading who analysed some examples of the offers currently  out there. We’ve pulled out what we think are her top three findings:

  • Full pricing details, such as call costs and line rental, can be an average of  four clicks away[3]  from the original offer page
  • Some offers currently available online are being advertised for as little as £3.25 per month, but once you explore the full cost with line rental, installation and connection fee added in, this can increase by up to 246% over 24 months[4]
  • Where consumers are attracted by the positive aspects of a new bundle deal, they find it hard to let go of the offer and search for alternatives once they find out about additional costs – this tendency is known as loss aversion[5]

At home entertainment isn’t a one size fits all glove. It doesn’t matter what service(s) you choose as long as it’s right for you – which for some people, will mean a bundle with the kitchen sink included. For others, free alternatives or customised ‘bundles’ may be a better fit. Either way, it’s up to you to make sure that you’re fully aware of the choice that your making – and hopefully, some of these findings might help.

Read more in our press releases .

[1]  972 of the 1000 highest rated programmes shown on UK TV (live or pre-recorded programmes watched within the same week) between 1st January and 30th June 2012 were available on Freeview. Source: BARB
(BARB consolidated data includes live and time shifted viewing in the first seven days)

[2]  Research was conducted by Opinium between 21 December 2012 and 2 January 2013 amongst 3,006 adults who pay for a broadband, home phone and TV subscription package that does not include Sky Sports or Sky Movies

[3]  When viewed online

[4]  Source: Talk Talk Essentials Deal with 12 months free

[5]  Phenomenon named by Kahneman and Tversky, in the 1984 paper, Choices, Values and Frames, American Psychologist, 38/4, pg341-350

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