YouGov: UK on demand market saturated

The UK market for on-demand TV is reaching saturation point, with only limited further audience growth potential, according to research from YouGov. It says that instead of looking for new audiences providers should focus on maximising what they get from existing users.

According to the researcher, 48 per cent of the online population in the UK used digital catch-up services in the last three months. However, among those that did not watch catch-up TV, just 7 per cent said they thought they would start doing so in the next year, compared to 79 per cent that said they were unlikely to. “Among converts there is clearly a huge appetite for content on-demand services in the UK. However, those who don’t currently access content have a limited interest in doing so in the future,” said Shaun Austin, associate director for media consulting at YouGov.

“Therefore, the focus for digital content providers needs to be on working out ways to get the most out of the existing current user base rather than expanding into new audiences.”

Among those who did access on-demand TV services, the BBC’s iPlayer was most popular, followed by YouTube. Austin said that this demonstrates that consumers gravitate towards free services, presenting a challenge for pay providers looking to attract viewers.

“As newspaper paywalls have shown, this will not be easy, especially when commercial rivals have to face-off against the dominant free-to-view BBC iPlayer,” said Austin. “Providers should look towards services like Spotify to see how it can be done.”

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