Survey: Most Brits watch just 12 channels


The average Briton now only watches 12 TV channels from the hundreds they sign up to – as the appetite for streamed, on-demand content is surging.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon are now as popular as traditional paid-for packages from Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV – with a third (29 per cent) of all the TV we watch now being streamed.

Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by online TV service, 59 per cent pay for one or more of the big three providers, Sky, Virgin Media or BT TV, whereas 58 per cent have a Netflix or Amazon Prime TV account.

Nearly six in 10 (56 per cent) customers of Sky, Virgin or BT still stream additional content on at least a weekly basis – with this figure rising to 74 per cent among those aged 18-34.

“The findings show the extent to which the dominance of the traditional pay-TV providers has been disrupted by cheaper ‘pick and play’ online services,” advised Sylvain Thevenot, Managing Director of “The advent of free and affordable, streaming services poses the question: ‘Why would anyone pay for expensive TV bundles which cater for one taste?’.”

“Perhaps people used to make more of the TV channels they were buying, but now our evidence shows that most people only watch a fraction available to them – and therefore are paying for channels they are not using.”

“People are paying too much for TV which doesn’t cater to their taste – and I’m sure we will see a day in the future when we turn around and say: ‘Can you remember when we paid £70 a month just to watch TV?’.”

“With digital, on-demand offerings via services like, it’s now possible for every member of the family to enjoy TV personalised to their taste, at a time which suits them, on any device and not have to pay for channels you don’t. The days of channel hopping are well and truly over.”

The popularity of catch-up players and streaming services has been on the up in recent years, with UK broadcasters and Internet-based brands able to offer a more personalised service – giving access to a range of content from Kids TV to Action Movies, for one low cost monthly fee.

In comparison, traditional TV deals from the likes of Sky force customers to choose one ‘package’ such as ‘Sports’(£20-28 more per month) or ‘Cinema’, often the expense of other channels. (£80+ in total for one extra category).

This model has led to a dissatisfaction with mainstream TV bundles, which struggle to cater for an entire household of people with varying tastes.

In the survey, more than half the Sky, Virgin or BT customers polled (62 per cent), said their package was ‘only slightly’ or ‘not at all’ customised.

Only 1 in 10 (11 per cent) have a package that is highly customised for their household viewing habits.

And a third (32 per cent) of those surveyed with an account with Sky, Virgin Media or BT TV, believe that their paid-for TV package is poor or terrible value for money.

In a further show of dissatisfaction with traditional packages, a fifth (21 per cent) of people who pay for a traditional TV package admit that they stream extra content not on those channels every day.

And it appears the trend for more TV being streamed via online services will continue apace, with younger viewers more likely to pay for a streaming service than a satellite service.

According to the study, almost half (45 per cent) of 18-34 year-olds have Netflix, compared to 20 per cent of people aged 55 and over.

But the days of fighting over the TV Times are not over for all – 42 per cent of those aged over 55 say they still consult a printed TV guide.

Q: Which of the following TV subscription services does your household currently have access to?

Subscription service Total
Sky 35  per cent
Netflix 33  per cent
Amazon Prime 23  per cent
Virgin Media 16  per cent
BT TV 8  per cent
Freesat 8  per cent
NOW TV 7  per cent
TalkTalk TV Plus 2  per cent
EE TV Unlimited 1  per cent
Another TV subscription service 2  per cent
N/A. My household does not currently have access to any TV subscription services 20  per cent



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