Internet TV creeping up on digital subscriptions, MCA survey finds

Dissatisfaction with channel line-ups now sees increase in households, 26%, that watch Internet TV

The channel line-up of both Go and Melita TV subscriptions is the main cause of dissatisfaction amongst households that told a survey by the Malta Communications Authority that they were not satisfied with the quality of their TV packages.

But an average of 68% of Pay-TV subscribers say they are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality of their TV connection.

23% of pay TV subscribers do not know the cost of their TV service, but 51% of all GO DTTV subscribers and 39% of all households with a Melita connection perceive prices to be neither expensive nor cheap.

Subscriptions to premium channels are on the increase with 25% of households with a pay-TV connection being subscribed to one or more premium channels, nine percentage points more than in 2011.

Interestingly, 26% of households view TV via the Internet, a marked increase from 19% in 2011. 51% of these households consider Internet TV as a good substitute to traditional TV.

According to the survey results, 46% of Maltese households have at least two TV sets, with 57% of households today having at least one HD TV set at home, a stark increase compared to the 28% in 2011. This notwithstanding, only 5% of Maltese households are subscribed to an HD TV package.

Between August and October 2013, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) commissioned a survey to gauge consumer sentiment on mobile and fixed telephony, Internet and TV services.

It found that the number of mobile subscribers owning an internet-enabled smartphone has more than doubled to 37%, from 16% registered in 2011.

And 9% of all mobile subscribers have more than one connection, which, together with the penetration of business mobile users, explains such a high mobile penetration rate in Malta which currently stands at 135%. The number of subscriptions on a post-paid contract is gradually increasing, registering a growth of 4 percentage points since 2011.

Tariff rates continue to be the main driving force for mobile subscribers to switch operators, with 43% of subscribers claiming to switch operators should their current operator increase tariffs. In fact, 18% switched operator over a two year period with 88% claiming this process to be relatively easy.

Fixed Telephony 

Despite the significant increases in mobile telephony usage, fixed telephony still remains an essential service. Even though 72% of households consider the mobile phone to be a good substitute (61% in 2011), only 3% of households consider terminating their fixed line connection.

Internet services

The survey shows that 80% of households have internet access, a considerable development when compared to the 68% of households having internet access in 2011.

Contrary to popular perception, only 1% of households cited affordability as the reason for not getting an Internet connection. With regard to usage, more members within the same households are using the Internet at home when compared to 2011, with 76% of households claiming that they cannot live without Internet.

Approximately 79% of households are satisfied or highly satisfied with the level of service, of which, 44% are subscribed to an ADSL connection, whilst 53% are cable subscribers.

Bundle services

Results from the consumer perception survey on bundles showed that 80% of households with a bundle service opted for this arrangement for a better overall price. Additionally, 26% prefer the convenience of receiving one bill. Internet is considered to be the most important service in bundles, followed by TV and fixed telephony.

70% of households with a bundle offer are satisfied or highly satisfied with the service they receive. Of those that are not quite satisfied, 40% cite frequent disconnections, 26% claim that the service is not comprehensive and 18% mention billing issues. Furthermore 43% of those that are not quite satisfied consider changing their bundle provider.  64% of households that did in fact switch claim the process to be easy.  42% of households with a bundle service spend more than €40 a month.

58% perceive the cost of their bundle to be reasonable, whilst 38% say it is expensive. Interestingly, households would still prefer to switch to another operator offering a similar bundle (74%) than switch to individual services (69%) should the price of the bundle increase by 10%.

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Joseph MELI
So how many households responded to this survey(and why isn't this shown ) and how many does this represent out of the total number of households?Also given that a landline (fixed ) telephone service is regarded as 'an essential service' by the MCA and that moreover, a regularly printed,hard copy version of a telephone directory is a Universal Service Provision-as also confirmed by the MCA -why hasn't one been provided for the past 10 years and why hasn't the MCA ensured (which they are duty-bound to ensure)that such has been supplied by the telephone service providers during all this time ?