Exclusive series such as The House of Cards and Arrested Development, as well as bought-in TV shows including the hit Breaking Bad, have helped the US-based company increase its paying UK audience to between 1.5 million and two million, according to a report by Enders Analysis.
“Netflix is still something of the silent intruder in the UK,” commented report author, Toby Syfret. “While BT Sport makes all the headlines, Netflix has released almost nothing publicly since announcing last August that it had broken the one million barrier.”
Netflix has nearly 38 million customers worldwide, with more than seven million of them in the 40 markets in which it operates outside the US. Based on the number of visits to the Netflix website and its international numbers, Enders believes the service is steadily gaining traction in the UK.
Netflix is growing not by changing traditional viewing habits but by establishing itself as another channel, an “extra choice option” after viewers have checked what is on live television or stored in the digital video recorder.
By making its content available on as wide a variety of screens and devices as possible, Netflix is attracting viewers not only via the main set in the living room, but via games consoles, tablets and PCs. One subscription allows simultaneous viewing on up to four devices.
In the US, half of subscribers watch the service via their games console, and 42 per cent on their computer screens. A further 14 per cent watch by connecting their computer to their TV. In its home market, because of the bandwidth needed to watch video online, Netflix accounts for 30 per cent of total internet traffic during peak viewing hours.
Syfret said some of its growth will have come from customers lured away from its rival Lovefilm, which is now owned by Amazon. He pointed to data showing a fall in visits to Lovefilm’s website versus a rise in Netflix web traffic.
“The main types of Netflix customer are pay-TV households and younger adults who have not yet set up more permanent households, but generally live in free-to-air TV dwellings and enjoy the occasional binge,” said Syfret.