Almost 10 million Brits may ditch their TV licence for a streaming service

istock/AndreyPopovTens of millions of people around the world now rely on streaming video services. Netflix has around 33 million subscribers, and Amazon is estimated to have more than 40 million. This represents a huge change in the way we consume television shows and movies, and it’s one that is going to have considerable repercussions on traditional broadcasters.

We recently conducted some surveys around TV viewing, one focusing on the TV licence and another examining streaming services. What we found was that as many as 39% of respondents would consider cancelling their TV licence in favour of a streaming service. That would be nearly 10 million of the approximately 25 million TV licences which have been issued, adding up to a loss for the BBC of about £1.3bn.

We also discovered that 30% don’t watch live broadcast TV, and that Netflix is by far the most popular subscription service with 63% of respondents signed up.

But despite this shift toward online TV, 73% say that Britain is better off with the BBC. Though 43% also think the TV licence should be cheaper, and another 43% would like to see it removed entirely.

Read on for a full breakdown of the results. Note that these graphs use data from two different surveys so the respondent numbers differ slightly.

1,225 respondents. TV Licensing data shows there were around 25.5m licences issued in 2014-15.

1,117 respondents.

1,225 respondents.

1,225 respondents

1,645 respondents.

1,225 respondents.

671 respondents.

486 respondents. From the 1st of September a TV licence will be required to watch both catch-up and live content on iPlayer.

671 respondents. While Netflix was by far the most popular choice in our survey, remember that anyone subscribed to Amazon Prime also has access to Amazon Video as part of the package.

555 respondents.


  • happy

    by Gty at 13:16 on 10 Aug 2016 Report abuse

    I've never purchased a tv licence and I never will. Just not answering the door is an easy way to avoid being caught.

  • happy

    by Web Dude at 16:15 on 1 Sep 2016 Report abuse

    I might consider a subscription to Netflix (and sell the NowTV boxes, since several non-BBC services have live viewing options). Of course it still requires TVL (Capita) staff to get an admission of me watching something live when the main things I view are box sets on Now TV or (Technology content). I don't think it fair on those who have no interest in BBC TV to be forced to pay, but the diversity of content would be reduced if a subscription fee were introduced.

    Then again, 2 hours of a country bus seems a ridiculous way of filling BBC 4 - I would love to know what that cost, not just in production, but expensive executive decision makers having meetings, and all the other costs, legal, finance, etc depts in the BBC.

    That would surely fade into insignificance compared with major sections of broadcasting - comedy, music (inc outside broadcasts), drama, and sport. If the BBC gave up sport and the most expensive presenters were fired, they could probably save 50% and that would fit with the numbers of people considering quitting entirely.

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