Our TV landscape is evolving. We are no longer confined to the broadcasters’ schedules.
Instead we are scheduling our own viewing to fit in with our lives, supplementing live broadcast TV viewing with broadcasters’ on-demand and streaming services, recorded TV and subscription on-demand and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Combined with an increase in take-up of fixed broadband (78% of households in Wales in 2017, compared to 63% in 2012) and portable devices (74% and 61% of people used a smartphone and tablet in 2017 compared to 39% and 8% in 2012), this has given us the freedom to watch what we want, when we want, where we want.
But it is not a simple shift from live broadcast TV to on-demand and streaming. Live broadcast TV remains a central component, but increasingly people are using different services and types of content to meet different needs. This section explores the needs met by these different services, and the benefits and disadvantages of this new approach to TV consumption.
Half of households in Wales receive satellite television through their main set; this continues to be higher than in the UK overall.
In 2017, satellite penetration across households in Wales was unchanged since 2016. Statistically, take-up of Freeview, cable TV and hybrid DTT and IPTV (including BT, EE, NowTV and TalkTalk) also remained unchanged.
While there is no difference by location in 2017 for take-up of Freeview in Wales, take-up of satellite TV in Wales is higher in rural areas (59% compared with 43% in urban areas) and take-up of cable services is higher in urban areas (12% compared to 0% in rural). Compared to the UK overall, penetration of satellite TV is higher in Wales, although households in Wales are less likely than in the UK overall to have cable TV (10% in Wales compared to 15% in the UK).
There are now 73 stations broadcasting on DAB in Wales. This comprises 13 from the BBC, 30 stations on the Sound Digital and Digital One multiplexes and 30 commercial stations on local DAB multiplexes.
However, not all of these digital stations will be available on DAB to listeners across all of Wales. The proportion of households within the coverage area for each type of station varies, and there are different services on each of the local DAB multiplexes serving different parts of Wales.
There are currently ten community radio stations on air in Wales – Calon FM, Tudno FM, BRfm, Radio Tircoed, Radio Glan Clwyd, Môn FM, Radio Cardiff, Radio Tircoed, Bro Radio and GTFM.
There are a further 37 analogue stations available in Wales overall.
Superfast Cymru is a Welsh Government intervention to provide superfast broadband connectivity to those areas in Wales where the market has demonstrably failed to provide it.
Deployment began in January 2013 and is expected to deliver coverage to around 720,000 premises, from a maximum area encompassing about 765,000 premises across Wales, by the time the project ends in December 2017.
BT is using two technologies; fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), to deliver the Welsh Government’s requirement for superfast broadband access, capable of at least 30Mbit/s to 90% of the intervention area.
To date, over 647,487 homes and businesses in Wales have been given access to fast fibre broadband as a result of the Superfast Cymru project. These are premises that would not have otherwise been covered by commercially-driven roll-outs.
In 2017, more than eight in ten (84%) households in Wales have access to the internet, and internet take-up levels in Wales are statistically unchanged since 2016.
Almost eight in ten households in Wales (78%) have access to fixed broadband at home, and almost six in ten (58%) adults in Wales use the internet through a mobile phone, both figures unchanged since 2016. The proportion of adults in Wales accessing the internet exclusively through a mobile phone or smartphone remains stable at 4%.
However, mobile broadband to a device other than phone (i.e. connecting a device using a USB stick or dongle, or built-in connectivity in a laptop/ netbook/tablet with a SIM card) has declined among households in Wales since 2016 (from 5% to 1%).
More than six in ten adults in Wales are using email more instead of post, compared to two years ago.
People were asked about what types of communication, if any, they are using more than post, compared to two years ago. Over six in ten (64%) adults in Wales said they are using email more, instead of post, which is the same level as the UK overall (65%). Four in ten (40%) said that they are using texts / SMS more, and 36% said the same for mobile phone calls. Around a quarter mentioned social networking (26%) and instant messaging (24%).
Eighteen per cent of adults in Wales said they aren’t using any form of communication in particular more at the expense of post; this is higher than the UK overall (15%).