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Pay TV subscriptions – one in five want out – do you?

Off button on remote control

Apparently one in five current paid-for TV subscribers are tied into an unwanted contract. Is 2011 the year that you too will want to save some cash by letting your TV subscription slide?

The research comes from Freesat, the free-to-view digital TV service from the BBC and ITV.

And although it has a vested interest in publishing this data, it does seem that in these austerity-hit times many of us are looking at our pay TV contracts – do they actually represent value for money?

Even minimum subscription contracts to Sky or Virgin are likely to set you back £1000+ over a five-year period (and a whole lot more if you get the premium sports and film channels). There’s certainly a lot of money to be saved by switching to Freeview or Freesat services.

Sure, you won’t get access to the pay-channels, but how often each week do you actually tune into them? Separate research by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board found that around 60% of Sky subscribers only watch the free channels. So you could be paying a lot to access hundreds of channels when you’re only watching a few of them.

But why are people sticking with their unwanted TV contracts? Freesat’s research suggests that inertia is one of the main reasons – they want out but just never get around to doing anything about it. Meanwhile the direct debits keep draining funds from their bank accounts each month.

Does this strike a chord with anyone out there? Do you want to get out of your expensive TV contract but haven’t found time to do it? Or maybe you think your TV subscription is worth the price you pay each month.


Though I’m not really thinking of completely un-subscribing from Virgin – I an thinking of heavily reducing my subscription.

Sophie Gilbert says:
8 January 2011

I unsubscribed from Virgin a long time ago. Freeview telly offers more than enough choice for me.


In all honesty – I joined Virgin for their fast Broadband and clear telephone – Sadly Freeview does not offer those options.

Kate says:
9 January 2011

Was there any questions in the survey with regard the amount of content theft freesat users indulge in using their BB subscriptions?


I want out of my licence fee altogether. Make the BBC pay per view. End of.

Peter says:
11 January 2011

I opted out of Sky six months ago, but the reality is, if your a sports fan, they have the monopoly – I’m afraid I missed my Rugby ‘fix’ to much, and rejoined. I wish there was a viable alternative, but there just isn’t – if you want to watch sports.

John says:
11 January 2011

With the same apetite for rugby but needing to make economies, I subscribed to epns and for £9.99 per month on a one year contract received a 300gig PVR and the oportunity to watch EVIVA premiership rugby. Most English and lots of European rugby. With this piece of kit there is also the possibility of subscribing to Sky sports one for £19.99 per month, no contract.
Hope this helps

johpal says:
11 January 2011

I shall be ditching Sky Movies at the end of my 12 month contract, but will retain the basic package with the HD add-on. I can receive 4 Freeview HD channels, but ITV HD sound (no Dolby Digital) cuts some of the entertainment value. Freesat has (as far as I can ascertain) only 2 HD channels, one of which is ITV (see earlier comment), so not worth me considering.


I enjoy watching sports so Sky Sports is a must for me. I might drop the film channels although last time I checked this would make little difference to the monthly cost.