BARB: Netflix main driver of UK SVoD take-up

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A BARB white paper shows that 11.6 million homes in the UK had at least one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or NOW TV in Q3 2018 – a year- on-year increase of 22 per cent. Netflix is the main driver of this increase, having added 2.2 million homes compared to Q3 2017. Amazon too has shown impressive growth, adding more than a million homes, while Now TV has added just under 200,000. We have also seen the number of homes with two or more services rise by 40% from 2.8 million to just under 4 million in the past year.

BARB reports that its data reveals a key clue as to the impact of SVoD viewing. On November 1st 2018, Netflix was made available to Sky Q customers through their Sky Q box. Given the correlation between SVoD use and unidentified viewing,  BARB suggests that one might expect to see a bump in the amount of unidentified viewing in Sky homes from that day onwards.

The initial data does indeed demonstrate that since Netflix has been available via Sky Q, there has been more unidentified viewing on the platform. Daily data, while volatile, show an upward trajectory beginning in September 2018 that continued into November and December. Given that the upward movement began before the availability of Netflix on Sky Q, one might conclude that this is coincidence, or the continuation of a trend with a different cause.

However, when ranking the level of unidentified viewing for all of the 457 days being considered, BARB found that the ten days with the highest levels of unidentified viewing all occurred since November 1st 2018. BARB cannot definitively say that this was due to Netflix viewing, but there is a strong likelihood that this is the cause. When the Q4 2018 Establishment Survey data are released in February, BARB says it will be able to see whether Netflix has also seen a corresponding increase in subscribers following its availability on Sky Q, or whether this trend is simply down to households that already subscribe to both Netflix and Sky choosing an easier route to access their Netflix accounts.

Establishment Survey data from the white paper can also tell us more about the kinds of households that are likely to subscribe to an SVoD service. Looking at household size, BARB reports that one or two-person households – 70 per cent of which have adults aged 55+ present – are less likely than the UK average to subscribe to an SVoD service, indicating that these services hold less appeal for this age group.

By contrast, households with three or more people, which are more than 2.5 times more likely to have children present, are 49 per cent more likely to subscribe to one of the three main SVoD services than the UK average. These multi-person households could also be occupied by young people. We know that 16-24-year- olds are 51 per cent more likely than the UK average to have access to an SVoD service. This age group’s daily unidentified viewing in the 12 months to September 2018 was 63 minutes, 17 minutes more than the average for all individuals.

In the 12 months to September 2018, time spent on unidentified viewing – where the TV set was being used to do something other than watch a BARB-reported channel or on-demand service – increased to 19 per cent of all TV set activity, up from 16 per cent in the preceding 12 months. In minute terms, that is a rise from 40 to 46 minutes a day on average.


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