Consumers want to pay telcos to manage their content subs

European telecoms operators should turn back to content to increase customer spend and reduce churn, the results of a new study suggested this week.

Mary Lennighan

June 13, 2024

3 Min Read

This time, we're not talking about picking up pricey content, like premium sports rights, though.

Consumers are willing to pay extra to a company willing to act as a content hub, a survey of 5,000 subscribers in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, commissioned by Bango and carried out earlier this year, found. And many of those consumers are looking to their mobile or fixed broadband provider to offer such a service.

The digital payments company, which funnily enough is looking to flog its own subscription management platform on the back of the study, claims that European consumers are keen for the all-in-one content hubs like those seen in the US and Australia, for example, to break into their market. On average, 58% said they would like a single app to manage all of their various subscriptions and accounts, the figure rising to 67% in the Spanish market.

That makes sense. Being able to see and manage all of your subscriptions in one place, and potentially being able to pay for them all in one hit too, would be pretty convenient.

There is the potential for bill shock with such a platform; seeing all of your monthly content outgoings in one place might trigger a desire to cut that top line figure. But the survey and data from other markets suggests otherwise. 40% said they would sign up for more services if they could do it by an all-in-one subscription platform. And while the average European consumer has 3.2 subscriptions – mainly SVOD, but also retail, gaming and so forth – the average American has 4.5. And Europeans currently spend less; content subs come in at an average €696 per year in Europe compared with €863 across the pond.

However, European consumers are cost-cutting. 42% have cancelled a subscription due a recent price increase, while 60% said they cannot afford all the subscriptions they would like.

It's worth bearing that in mind when considering Bango's headline finding from the survey. The firm claims that consumers will pay a fair whack to a content hub provider that would help them to manage their subscriptions, and it is pushing the idea of super-bundling, which it insists could help both content companies and telcos get a lid on churn.

38% of subscribers would pay more to their connectivity provider if a package of popular subscriptions were automatically included, it said. And 35% would pay as much as 25% more.

In the UK, that figure comes it an average of £14 per month that consumers are willing to pay on top of their existing phone bill. Bango is pitching that as "a huge opportunity to telcos," but it's not wholly clear from the study exactly what consumers would expect to get for their £14. Or whether the telco or content providers would actually be better off, given that consumers would still be looking to get a cheaper deal for their various subscriptions.

"The UK consumer's appetite for subscriptions now adds-up to a material chunk of monthly household spending," said Bango CEO Paul Larbey. "But with so many options – and so many bills to pay – people need better ways to manage their subscriptions. And telcos are well positioned to provide that solution."

Consumers certainly think so. Across the five European markets, 46% of those surveyed wanted their mobile provider to act as a content hub, while 36% named their broadband provider. Other service providers, such as TV companies, payment or wallet providers, banks and retailers, ranked lower.

But whether there's actually a revenue opportunity in it is debatable. The customer loyalty angle is stronger. The survey showed that 54% of European subscribers said they would be more loyal to a brand that offered an all-in-one subscription service, while 39% would switch provider to access such an offer.

Ultimately though, we're still in a cost-of-living crisis and reducing monthly spend remains the name of the game for most. Becoming a content hub is certainly an avenue telcos would do well to explore, but it won't reverse the 'more for less' trend anytime soon.

About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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