In the wake of the decision by the Minister for Communications to not go ahead with plans to implement a public service broadcasting charge, new research shows that 36pc of Irish adults would consider scrapping their TV licence in favour of solely watching internet content.
In Ireland, the TV licence debate is an emotive issue: all households must pay for a TV licence if they are in possession of a TV set; non-payment can land you in jail.
TV licence revenue in 2015 alone was €214m.
The public service broadcasting charge was originally designed to reflect the reality that more people are accessing broadcast content through connected devices like tablets and smartphones than traditional TVs.
A new online survey from Irish telecom and broadband provider Pure Telecom has revealed that more than one-third of adults would consider ditching their TV licence in favour of solely watching internet-reliant TV and video content.
The research, carried out by iReach in May 2016 on behalf of Pure Telecom, surveyed 1,000 online adults across Ireland.
Broadband provider Pure is one of the first operators to launch 1Gbps broadband services on the back of services from Eir’s wholesale arm Open Eir.
The survey found that while 36pc of adults would scrap the licence, some 43pc of online millennials would be prepared to do so.
Some 51pc of online adults rank streamed and internet-reliant TV ahead of paid-for and free-to-air TV, the research suggests.
‘Media consumption is evolving and internet traffic is at an all-time high due to customers watching and downloading content online’
– PAUL CONNELL, PURE TELECOM
Alarmingly for broadcasters, 23pc have abandoned paid TV in the past five years due to an increase in online viewing options.
Currently, 88pc of adults with a fixed-line broadband connection stream video content, rising to 95pc for millennials.
On average, a typical consumer spends 5.5 hours watching streamed internet-driven content in an average week, with men watching an average of 1.75 hours more than women.
“Media consumption is evolving and internet traffic is at an all-time high due to customers watching and downloading content online,” said Paul Connell, director of Pure Telecom.
“Streaming channels are producing top-quality original TV shows and movies, which people can watch at any time that suits them.
“However, streaming channels add another household bill to the mix, so people who are already active users of the internet are starting to think about what other expenses they can do without.”
Retro TVs image via Shutterstock