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Internet TV set to take off this Xmas

News, 18 December 2015

LONDON: Paid TV streaming services are expected to be used by more UK consumers this Christmas than free catch-up services, according to a report that also highlights the popularity of online TV around the world.

Digital subscriptions firm Paywizard recently surveyed consumers in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, the UK and US, and noted an increase in the number of people willing to subscribe to on-demand TV over the holiday period.

The study, entitled Research Now, found that 39% of UK consumers plan to pay for internet TV services this Christmas, which would edge the proportion ahead of 38% of consumers who currently use free ones, such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

The research showed that 19% of UK consumers currently subscribe to streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and a further 20% intend to sign up to these services for Christmas. Meanwhile, 50% will consider more than one service.

However, despite rapidly growing interest in paid services, the survey found that UK internet TV subscribers do not intend to stick with the service because 1-in-5 plan to end their subscriptions in January and half (49%) expect to leave within six months.

This could be explained by the ongoing popularity of free catch up services in the UK where the 38% of consumers who use them is more than double the survey's global average of 18%.

"The UK audience is well served with TV choices, ranging from traditional broadcasters and pay-TV providers to newer, high quality on-demand services," said Bhavesh Vaghela, chief marketing officer at Paywizard.

"Yet the appetite for more content is only getting bigger, giving international services like Netflix and home-grown rivals like NOW TV a foothold in the market that may ultimately disrupt the status quo," he added.

When the study looked at other markets, it found about two-thirds (67%) of US consumers plan to use paid internet TV this Christmas.

A full 36% of US viewers already have an internet TV subscription – far higher than in the UK and other nations – and another 31% plan to subscribe over the festive season.

Elsewhere, around a quarter (26%) of Australian consumers currently use a streaming service while another 17% plan to subscribe ahead of the holidays.

German consumers are also much less likely than their American counterparts to pay for streamed content this Christmas. Just 16% currently subscribe, but this is expected to rise to 38% over the holiday.

Data sourced from Paywizard, Digital Journal, ARN, telecompaper; additional content by Warc staff