It used to be that, if you were moving into a new home, paying for a license, tuning the TV sets, and even getting satellite TV installed was one of the chief priorities. It’s very different now.
The UK market is rather similar to that of the US, with the two countries trading the most popular shows, and the audience having very similar options when it comes to how they watch shows and movies. In both countries, cable or satellite TV companies are trying to keep a hold of the market, with Sky being as dominant in the UK as AT&T.
So, we’re looking at the choices that UK movers and new homeowners are making now that they have so many options and can sidestep attempts to be strong-armed into licenses and satellite subscriptions. With a new home meaning a fresh start and the chance to change the usual way of doing things, is TV still a priority for people looking to get a new home?
Veering towards the stacked streaming scene
In the UK, over 80 percent of entertainment spending is now internet-based, per The Guardian. The video market is showing a distinctly rapid growth in streaming, with the popularity of Netflix and Amazon Prime helping the sector to hit £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion), just as it is in the US, where video streaming is valued at $24,079m in 2020. Powerful internet connectivity across the country and the accessibility of smart televisions have enabled millions of people to connect to streaming services easily.
As of 2019, Netflix had over 11.4 million subscribers, Amazon Prime Video had nearly 6 million, and Sky’s streaming platform Now TV eclipsed 1.62 million subscribers. Each service saw a distinct increase in subscribers and users from 2018 to 2019, and now Apple TV is more of a force, and Disney+ is in the mix.
The much-loathed license
A major point of dispute in recent years, the UK’s TV Licence is loathed by many and continues to grow in price. UK residents need the £154.50 ($202.07) one-year licence to watch BBC channels, iPlayer, and live TV, as detailed by the Chronicle Live. The fee, in turn, pays for much of original the content created by the BBC, which has included US favourites like Doctor Who, Outnumbered, The Last Kingdom, Peaky Blinders, and Luther. However, they don’t need to pay that fee if they’re strictly watching catch-up and on-demand content through streaming platforms.
The licence amounts to £12.88 ($16.85) per month, while everything that comes with Prime, including Prime Video, is a mere £7.99 ($10.45) per month. For some who base their entertainment consumption around terrestrial channels, it would be tough to make the switch. In the UK, the second-most used streaming service is BBC iPlayer, likely showing that many streamers still want to watch BBC shows and so will need to pay the licence.
Certainly among the priorities when moving
Watching TV shows and movies is a core part of home life in the UK, as it is in the US, but the more pressing factor is getting the best value for money. So, naturally, the TV-vs-streaming debate will be a part of the overall cost of living calculations. To get more freedom in the choice, however, the priority is in finding the best value mortgage. Using the program to compare mortgages and lenders at Trussle, homebuyers can make sure that they’re not overspending on their mortgage by using their free service. This, in turn, gives movers the most wiggle room possible with the other necessary costs to consider, including entertainment bills. This may be a factor to consider how many streaming services you may want to subscribe to.
There are other bills to consider, such as gas and electricity, broadband, insurance, water, council tax, and additional expenses also need to be taken into account, which has seen a growing number of people setting up in a new home defer to pure streaming for their entertainment – at least in the opening weeks. It’s readily available and easily accessed, making the likes of Netflix and Prime Video perfect for movers who are already under a mountain of paperwork, new bills, and tasks to ready the home.
Streaming is undoubtedly winning over more and more Brits each year – a trend that has cable companies trembling in the US – and it wouldn’t be surprising if it gradually became more prevalent as peoples’ only video content provider.