2017: MCA Consumer Perceptions Survey – Broadcasting Services

Published: February 2018

MCA Consumer Perceptions Survey: Pay-TV

A brief overview of findings from a perception survey carried out in the period November to December 2017

The MCA is hereby publishing the findings of a survey gauging consumer perceptions based on their experience in using pay-TV and broadcasting products and services offered in Malta. The variables assessed include the level of satisfaction with the products and services being purchased, the sensitivities to price changes and switching, and the overall experience with customer care related to faults.

The survey, which was limited to residential users, was carried out by Grant Thornton via telephone interviews. A total of 906 randomly selected respondents participated in this survey.

The questionnaire posed a number of new questions focusing on the usage and experience of internet TV, usage of mobile broadband services to access internet TV and the related usage and experience of over-the-top (OTT) services. 

More TV sets at home

Over 99% of Maltese households have a TV set at home. Almost 50% of these have two TV sets whilst 24% have three TV sets or more at their residence. Compared to the survey carried out in 2015, these categories showed a two percentage point and a one percentage point increase respectively. Meanwhile, the number of households indicating to have one TV set decreased by 1 percentage points between 2015 and 2017, from 27% to 26%. 

Also, 67% of Maltese households today have at least one HD TV set at home, in 2015 this was recorded at 66%.

Higher take-up of pay-TV but less free-to-air

Survey findings underline the widening subscriber base for local pay-TV, with the proportion of subscriptions purchased in a bundle rising to 67% in 2017. In comparison the number of respondents only making use of free-to-air services surveys dwindled, from 4% in 2015 to 1% in 2017. It is anticipated that this percentage falls further over the next two years, as 15% of the respondents using only free-to-air said that they intend to subscribe to pay-TV within a year.

More IPTV-Android but less satellite

21% of respondents with a standard pay-TV subscription stated they have an IPTV-Android box. This percentage falls to 13% with the question regards to regular use of IPTV-Android alongside standard pay-TV. The survey shows that 6% of respondents with a pay-TV subscription intend to get IPTV-Android within the next 6 months. In contrast to the double-digit take-up of IPTV-Android, just 3% of respondents with a pay-TV subscription say that they have access to satellite TV.

A highly satisfied customer base

Local service providers score highly with end-users when it comes to the quality of service they offer. In fact, the percentage of respondents with a pay-TV subscription saying they were satisfied and highly satisfied with the service stood at 56% and 23% respectively in 2017. Overall, 79% of respondents in 2017 were happy with their pay-TV subscription, compared to 77% of respondents in 2015. Respondents saying that they are not satisfied with the quality levels of their pay-TV service, cited ‘frequent disconnections’ as the main cause of their dissatisfaction.

A widespread lack of knowledge on monthly expenditure and prices

Notwithstanding that respondents frequently cited ‘price’ as an important factor influencing their purchase of a pay-TV service, just 45% of respondents knew their monthly expenditure on pay-TV. The main reason cited by respondents for this lack of knowledge is that they purchase the service in a bundle. Half of the respondents knowing their monthly expenses on the service under investigation feel that their monthly expenditure is reasonable. 

Limited switching between service providers

Just 4% of respondents in 2017 reported having switched their pay-TV subscription in the previous two years. Whilst this finding somewhat corresponds to the reported high level of quality of service, it is noted that the big majority of respondents claiming not to be satisfied with their current service indicated that they will not switch service provider. Citing the reason that the alternative operator did not offer a service that matched their requirements. 

Internet TV largely deemed not a substitute to pay-TV

Only 34% of respondents reported making use of Internet TV services such as Netflix, a decline of 19 percentage points from results obtained in 2015.  Furthermore, only 10% of respondents making use of Internet TV deemed this service to be an acceptable substitute to a local pay-TV service. This result suggests that respondents still find their local pay-TV services as the most suitable means to match their daily viewing needs, especially for viewing local TV channels.

Methodology and Fieldwork

The methodology used in the latest round of consumer surveys, including the sampling, questionnaire design, fieldwork and weighting processes followed similar approaches to previous surveys. The research methodology involved the use of Telephone Computer-assisted interviewing (CATI).

Stratified sampling was used according to the age composition of the Maltese population. Moreover, the interviews were distributed among Malta’s six official geographic regions and carried out across different socioeconomic categories of the Maltese population.

For a more comprehensive picture, a presentation encompassing the main survey findings is available on the MCA website via this link. 

Background to the survey function at the MCA

The MCA has been regularly carrying out the Consumer Perception Surveys on a two-yearly interval since 2008. The main purpose behind this exercise is to gather information on the level of satisfaction of local consumers with the products and services offered by electronic communication service providers and the extent to which these providers are able to address the demands of their clients. Given that these surveys have been carried out regularly for a number of years, survey results are indicative of how the needs of end-users have developed over time and how local service providers are dealing with changing demand of consumers.

The results of these surveys also serve as an additional source of information for the MCA’s regulatory decisions, in order to ensure an environment that is conducive to sustainable competition and investment in view of the demands of the future. 

View Press Release in Maltese

View Survey Results