One in four UK households now subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or NOW TV.
New figures from TV ratings firm Barb show that 24 per cent of UK households claim to subscribe to one of the three main SVOD suppliers, as of Q4 2015 – compared to just 14 per cent in Q1 2014.
Amazon Video and Now TV are both seeing growth, but Netflix is by some margin the market leader, and its growth continues easily to outpace its rivals. The number of households subscribed to Netflix grew by 1.4m between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, compared to an increase of 0.5m households for Amazon Video and 0.3m households for Now TV.
While 1 in 4 is a significant number and Barb does report a decline in the number of homes without a telly, SVOD appears to be complementing rather than replacing traditional TV. Indeed, the data suggests that SVOD appeals to households who already consume a great deal of TV – 55 per cent of SVOD households are large (three or more occupants) compared with 35 per cent of the overall household population.
There is also no sign of SVOD directly replacing pay TV, either: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video homes are significantly more likely to be cable or Sky subscription homes than average – although this is not true for NOW TV, which is aimed at viewers wanting pay TV content without pay TV contracts. Netflix penetration in cable and YouView homes is particularly high because of the deals Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk have made with the company; 30 per cent of cable homes and 31 per cent of YouView homes take Netflix compared to 13 per cent of terrestrial-only households. (One factor that contributes to this disparity is the lower broadband take-up rate in terrestrial only households.)
The overlap between SVOD and pay TV is particularly stark when households have Sky Movies. While the premium film service is usually thought of as a direct competitor to Netflix and Amazon Video, it appears to be less a competitor than a companion: SVOD penetration goes up from 35 per cent in cable homes to 43 per cent within cable homes that already have a Sky Movies subscription.
“The picture is clear,” says the report. “SVOD homes are not swapping out their traditional TV for SVOD, they are using SVOD services to get even more of what they already have.”
In the case of Netflix, though, viewers often have all they want: 82 per cent of Netflix households subscribe only to one SVOD service, compared with 49 per cent for Now TV and 54 per cent for Amazon Prime Video, a sign of just how much the company dominates the streaming landscape.