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Think twice before buying a bundle

Posted January 25, 2013 - Press Releases

Millions of UK homes using only a fraction of their broadband, TV & phone packages

  • £8.1 billion a year spent on TV, home phone and broadband bundles£2.7 billion a year spent on unwatched pay TV channels, £199.32 per home
  • Over two thirds don’t use all the broadband capacity they’re paying for (69%)

A joint report from Post Office and Freeview1 reveals consumers spend £8.1 billion a year on TV, home phone and broadband ‘bundles’ yet most of their money is spent on unwatched TV channels and unnecessarily high broadband speeds.

The Vision and Value Report examines TV viewing and internet usage habits among those with a bundle deal for TV, broadband and home phone.  The research reveals that despite 13.7 million homes paying for extra TV channels, three quarters (75 per cent) of their viewing hours are spent watching free-to-air channels.  The average monthly spend on bundles is £49 with almost half of this (£22) being spent on paying for extra TV channels meaning that £2.7 billion is spent on unwatched pay TV channels – that’s £199.32 per home.

The study also reveals that consumers are signed up to broadband speeds far beyond their needs.  The majority (77 per cent) reported that they mainly used their connection for surfing the web, emailing and social networking – activities that only require speeds of 5 Mbps – yet the average speed people are paying for (29Mbps) is over five times higher.  Over two thirds (69 per cent) don’t use all the broadband capacity they’re paying for.

Older generations are getting some of the poorest value for money from providers.  The average bill for over 65s is £51 per month yet they watch just one hour of TV per day on paid-for channels and use the least amount of data per month (12 Gb). In comparison, deal savvy 18-24 year-olds spend £41 per month but use 24 Gb data.

Southampton residents are currently getting the poorest value for money from their TV subscriptions.  They watch just half an hour of TV a day on paid-for channels which equates to over £20 of their monthly bill.

Similarly, people in Cardiff are the failing to get the most ‘bang from their buck’ from their broadband with over three quarters (76 per cent) of residents not using all broadband capacity they’re entitled to.

Londoners are paying for some of the highest broadband speeds in the country (31Mbps) yet not taking advantage of the speeds they’re receiving – eight out of ten (80%) say they use the internet for surfing the web, emailing and social networking.

How the UK compares – city breakdown of money spent on bundles, unwatched pay TV channels and unused broadband capacity

City Monthly spend on unwatched Pay TV channels % people who don’t use all their broadband capacity2 Monthly spend on TV, broadband and home phone
1.  Southampton £20.33 66% £53
2.  Norwich £18.49 69% £52
3.  London £17.91 73% £49
4.  Bristol £17.15 65% £48
5.  Leeds £16.67 69% £48
6.  Manchester £16.46 69% £48
7.  Glasgow £16.08 65% £54
8.  Birmingham £15.07 66% £49
9.  Belfast £15.03 56% £45
10. Cardiff £14.87 76% £49
11. Nottingham £14.63 72% £51
12. Newcastle £13.41 62% £49

Hugh Stacey, Head of Post Office HomePhone and Broadband, said: “While bundles can be tempting, this report shows they provide far more than the average person needs and millions of people are clearly paying for services they never use.  Consumers need to carefully align what they need to what suppliers are offering as part of their bundles.  With so many deals on the market, reviewing them all may seem like a daunting prospect, however, by simply doing a bit of extra research before signing up, the savings could be considerable.“

Guy North, Marketing Communications Director at Freeview adds; “Paying a seemingly small monthly fee to have access to hundreds of TV channels as part of a bundle deal may seem appealing, but the reality is that the vast majority of people are paying for channels they’re not likely to watch.  Viewing figures show that 97% of the most watched TV programmes are already available without subscription3, so people shouldn’t have to spend money subscribing to TV when they don’t need to.”


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