Advanced Television

Analysts: Acorn TV rolls out in UK… at the right time?

April 29, 2020

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV has gone live in the UK. The SVoD service, which has more than one million paid subscribers in the US, touts itself as “the ultimate destination for high-quality, world class dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world without advertising”.

Commenting on the launch, Patrick Morrell, Director, Strategic Publisher and TV Development at The Trade Desk, says: “The launch of Acorn TV in the UK market means even greater competition for share of wallet, at a time when purse strings are being pulled extra tight. While TV consumption is certainly up right now, there’s a limit on how much consumers are prepared to pay for the privilege. And given most of Acorn’s programming was first broadcast on mainstream UK channels, it seems unlikely that many Brits will be willing to pay £4.99 – or drop another streaming service – for access.”

“As we circle around ‘peak subscription’, the obvious solution is for streaming services to subsidise subscriptions with advertising – something the majority of consumers are very receptive to. Advertising could be particularly powerful on Acorn TV, offering brands access to niche pools of highly engaged potential customers that are traditionally harder to reach elsewhere, as well as providing a much-needed edge over Britbox, which caters to the same niche – and with a bigger back catalogue.”

“As the streaming wars heat up, all eyes are on the big players battling for consumer attention. But the smaller streamers sneaking up on the sidelines shouldn’t be overlooked,” he concludes.

Mark Inskip, CEO UK & Ireland, Kantar (Media Division) adds: “The arrival of American platform Acorn TV on British shores comes at an interesting time for both consumers and the streaming industry. With people spending more time indoors, they’re also spending more time in front of their TV sets – 44 per cent of British adults told us that they’ve been watching more online video and TV on demand over the past few weeks. However, the current economic downturn means consumers are even more savvy with where they spend. As more and more streaming providers join the ranks, there’s a clear need for each to differentiate itself and provide users with a clear USP.”

“While Acorn TV offers a lower price point than many of its competitors, we know that regardless of whether a provider is fee-based or ad funded, consumers are drawn in by the content that’s available. Acorn TV’s focus on the best of British programmes gives them a point of differentiation, but the streaming landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. With Netflix recently reporting record earnings for the start of the year, Acorn TV will need to work hard to fight off the competition. Being in tune with the attitudes and behaviours of their whole target market, as well as actively monitoring and measuring the engagement of their users, will be critical in ensuring their entry into the UK market is a success,” he concludes

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