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Netflix gaining ground on free VoD services

When it comes to adoption of SVoD services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, the UK lags behind the US and Canada by some distance. But research carried out by investment bank RBC Capital Markets reported by eMarketer found that Netflix, in particular, was gaining ground on the UK’s leading free VoD providers.

Among UK Internet users surveyed in August 2016 who had used a VoD service to watch movies or TV shows in the preceding 12 months, 42 per cent of respondents had done so using Netflix. While still trailing the percentages of respondents that had watched such content on free platforms BBC iPlayer (62 per cent) and YouTube (54 per cent), Netflix’s figure was up from 30 per cent of in August 2015 and 14 per cent in August 2013.

Netflix wasn’t the only SVoD to gain ground on iPlayer and YouTube. In fact, all of the paid services did, led by Amazon Prime Video, which saw its share more than double to 26 per cent in the most recent polling, up from 12 per cent in August 2015.

In addition to challenging free VoD services for eyeballs, SVoD players are influencing how those services make content decisions. Much like Netflix has studied its core users to create hits such as ’80s nostalgia-laden drama series Stranger Things, the BBC, for one, has begun using its registered account holders’ viewing data to drive content commissioning decisions, according to a May 2016 article by The Guardian.

The effect of BBC’s foray into data-driven decision-making on the UK’s VoD rankings remains to be seen, but RBC figures show iPlayer usage has slipped slightly but steadily each year since peaking at 66 per cent in August 2013.

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