Scots turning off SVOD

Scottish consumers are turning away from subscription TV services, according to research by ScotPulse commissioned by commercial broadcaster STV.

The ScotPulse survey found that 64% of SVOD subscribers have, or are planning to, cut back or cancel their services, while 47% plan to spend less on TV entertainment subscriptions such as Sky, Netflix and Disney+.

Over half – 52% – said they planned to use fewer paid-for TV services and 48% planned to use fewer SVOD services.

This compared with 75% who planned to use free-to-view services at the same level, and 14% who planned to use free TV services more going forward.

The ScotPulse findings echo Q2 2022 figures from the Barb Establishment Survey on SVOD uptake, which showed that seven out of eight SVOD services are down in Scotland, with the drop in Scotland sharper than the rest of the UK.

A recent survey by Kantar also found that the UK SVOD market had declined by 488,000 with 1.66 million SVOD services cancelled during the second quarter of 2022, following 1.51 million cancellations in Q1.

Kathleen Wiseman of ScotPulse said: “With the current economic backdrop causing consumers to examine their spending habits, it’s clear from our research that TV subscriptions is one of the areas where people can reduce their costs, with 64% of respondents stating they have or are considering cutting back or cancelling their SVoD packages.”

Richard Williams, MD of Digital at STV, who commissioned the research, said: “UK content still dominates UK viewing. BARB figures show that 73% of all in-home viewing in the first half of this year was to broadcast channels and broadcaster VOD services, nearly six times the size of viewing delivered by the global streamers. There’s room for everyone in this market but it’s clear that in the current climate, the free TV services – with all the brilliant original, high-quality content they offer – should become an even more attractive proposition for viewers.”

Separately, STV has released solid first half results that included the claim that the broadcaster had a higher audience reach in Scotland than all SVOD services combined in the six months to June.

STV posted reveuues of £62.1 million for the first half, up 3%, and operating profit of £11.9 million, up 22%.

STV’s own streaming offering, STV Player, saw active users climb by 7% and VIP users climb by 3%.

STV recently struck a partnership with SVOD player Acorn TV to bring some of the latter’s content to its own on-demand service, free to view supported by advertising.

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