In our recent survey, we asked Which? members about their experience with their TV provider. We found that more than half pay for a TV package. Are you a Sky subscriber or a Freeview fan?
With costs ranging from £160 to more than £1,000 a year, subscription television services can represent a significant chunk of your household income. New customers are tied in to a 12 or 18-month contract, costing from £14 to £65 a month, or up to £100 with premium channels in a broadband package. That’s even without a premium TV box or extra box for a different room.
Pay TV, such as Sky’s satellite packages and Virgin’s cable TV services, offers a huge array of programmes, blockbuster films and biggest sports fixtures. We found that four in ten of you have premium sports channels and three in ten have premium movie channels.
It seems that there’s a real appetite for TV out there. Seven in 10 told us they watch more than 15 hours of TV in a week. Over four in 10 watch catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, and more than three-quarters watch recorded digital TV.
Not only are we spoilt for choice, we’re no longer tied to watching TV at specific times, as subscriptions come with the kit to let us easily record, catch-up with, and view TV on demand. We can watch what we want, when we want – without a single VHS tape in sight.
Turning up the prices
Sky, Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk have all increased their prices in the last six months. Some customers are paying £6 to £82 a year more, and those with extra sports channels are bearing the brunt of it. But even at a time when many of us are feeling the squeeze, our latest Quarterly Consumer Report found that we’re more likely to cut spending on clothing, entertainment and even food/groceries, than our TV subscription.
Many said they were annoyed that new customers receive better offers and loyalty doesn’t seem to count. Despite this, seven in 10 have stayed with their provider for longer than three years. But some savvy members told us how they call their provider every six months and negotiate a better deal.
Switch over to save
If you’re forking out a lot money every month and you’re not satisfied with your TV provider, why not call them to ask for a better deal? You might get a discount – if not, you might be able to switch.
If you’re not watching some of your premium channels, consider reducing your package and the monthly cost to boot. You can slash the cost of movies, too – Sky Movies Collection costs £19.50 a month, but Lovefilm and Netflix online movie streaming services start at £5 per month. If most of what you watch is free telly on Freeview or Freesat, you could avoid monthly TV subscription fees altogether with a set-top box.
How do you stay tuned to your favourite shows and do you opt for a pay TV service?