Pay TV will feel squeeze

Almost a quarter of UK pay-TV customers are considering cutting back or dropping their subscription packages as the credit crunch takes hold. A report by Continental Research found 24 per cent of pay-TV customers surveyed planned to reduce the amount they spent on services such as movie and sports channels over the next year. The report found that 6 per cent of TV viewers had decided not to buy additional services directly because of the economic slowdown.

Freeview looks likely to prove popular with cash-strapped consumers. With Continental Research reporting that15 per cent had chosen subscription-free Freeview because of cash concerns. Thirteen per cent planned to get Freeview in the next year for the same reason.

“One of the truisms about how consumers respond to a challenging economy is that they go out less and therefore by implication spend more time at home watching TV,” said Tim Barber, associate director at Continental Research. “Our research suggests Freeview is going to benefit from consumer worries about the credit crunch at the expense of some of the paid-for services.”

Around 8 per cent of all consumers surveyed said they planned to switch to a cheaper TV package, such as dropping movies or sport, while seven per cent said they would completely drop additional pay channels.

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