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Irdeto global research finds up to three in five consumers willing to switch to an a la carte service; Consumers balance cost and content variety in their search for the right entertainment mix


INTX, CHICAGO – 06 May 2015 – According to new global research from Irdeto, many consumers would consider changing their primary TV service to an a la carte model to avoid paying for bundles which include channels they don’t watch. The research reinforces a growing consumer trend and reveals that 42% of U.K. consumers, 46% in Australia, 54% in Singapore and 58% in the U.S. would be interested in changing their current TV service to a package where they could select the specific channels and content that they wanted to watch.

Cost is clearly the main global driver of this willingness to change, with respondents who would consider this kind of package in the U.K. (77%) and the U.S. (75%) mainly motivated by not wanting to pay for bundled channels they don’t watch (compared to 68% in Singapore and 63% in Australia). Greater control over the channels that they pay for is also important to respondents in the U.S. (62%) and Australia (62%), whereas U.S. consumers are also more likely (53%) to believe this model would be cheaper than consumers elsewhere. While it’s clear that many may not realize that the cost of creating an a la carte experience could actually be equal to – or greater than – current pay TV bundles, it is expected that the desire for hyper-personalization and choice will still fuel the a la carte trend worldwide.

There are a number of consumers, however, who wouldn’t consider shifting to an a la carte TV service model. This is largely because they like the variety of content offered in more traditional packages – particularly in the U.K. (36%) and Australia (28%). In all countries surveyed, the most popular reason for not wanting to switch is that consumers like having lots of channels to choose from. Consumers in the U.K. and Australia were less likely to consider switching, which could be because they are happy with the free TV offering they have under the license fee – 38% of U.K. consumers and 51% of Australian consumers mainly watch free TV content.

“This research shows an increasing demand from consumers for content on their terms. Operators must take this into consideration and ensure that they continue to evolve their offerings accordingly to remain competitive in the market,” said Richard Scott, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Irdeto. “The drive towards a la carte can be seen across the industry, with new services looking to cater to that consumer. In addition to offering a compelling multi-screen experience, operators must also price themselves correctly to avoid losing consumers who realize that a la carte services can become quite expensive when added together.”

The research was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted online by YouGov among representative samples in each market, with over 5,000 adults in total taking part, to understand and address consumer attitudes towards viewing and paying for a la carte TV content. It uncovers trends in viewing desires and habits in the U.S, U.K, Australia and Singapore. Additional trends uncovered by the research are:

  • U.S. Consumers most likely to invest extensively in a la carte: While many consumers would be willing to switch their current TV service for an a la carte service, 27% in Australia and 25% in the U.K. would not be willing to pay for such a service – in contrast to 19% in Singapore and just 11% in the U.S. The most frequently cited monthly payment limits that consumers would be willing to spend on a la carte services are £20 (19%), $20 AUD (20%), $20 SGD (27%) and $30 USD (31%). However, 17% of U.S. respondents would pay up to $75 USD per month.
  • HD streaming is more of a priority for consumers in Singapore: While the viewing experience is undoubtedly important for consumers, HD streaming is seen by many as a luxury rather than a necessity. When asked if they would be willing to upgrade their internet subscription and pay more to watch streamed HD content, 39% of U.K. consumers would not, for the main reason that HD content is not an important factor for them. In contrast, price is the main inhibitor in both Australia (29%) and the U.S. (31%) where the most common response is that consumers would not be willing to spend any more money to upgrade. In contrast more consumers in Singapore are willing to upgrade their services to allow HD streaming, if the content they want is available in HD, with 30% of respondents in Singapore citing this option.
  • Cable and satellite subscriptions are still most popular for paid content: 67% of U.S. respondents pay for the majority of their TV content, compared to half of the respondents in Singapore and just under half (48%) of U.K. respondents. In Australia, free TV content is much more popular, with only 34% of respondents paying for the majority of their TV content. Of the respondents that pay for the majority of their TV content, an overwhelming 82% in the U.K. mainly use a monthly subscription service via a cable or satellite provider.
  • Consumers in Australia and U.S, who pay for the majority of their TV, are more likely to use OTT as main source of content: Australia (22%) and the U.S. (14%) see a greater use of mainly OTT services like Netflix and Amazon Prime compared to just 9% in the U.K. and 4% in Singapore. Streaming devices or set-top boxes from telecoms providers are much more common in Singapore, with 44% of those who pay for TV content viewing the majority of it through these devices. This compares to 16% and under in the other markets.

For the full survey results, see the quick read reports for the U.S, U.K, Australia and Singapore.


The research was commissioned by Irdeto and all figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 5,285 adults in the U.S (1,179), U.K (2,100), Australia (1,002) and Singapore (1,004). Fieldwork was undertaken between 20 -27 April 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in each country.

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