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Data: UK VoD market shows signs of recovery

January 30, 2023

Insights and consulting company Kantar has released its latest Entertainment on Demand (EoD) data on the UK’s streaming market. Kantar’s EoD study in Great Britain uncovers the following behaviours within the VoD market between September and December 2022:

  • Between Sept to Dec 2022, the number of VoD-enabled households that subscribed to at least one video streaming service in Great Britain rose to 16.24million, up +55k, quarter on quarter, representing 56 per cent of households
  • 5 per cent of British households took out a new streaming subscription during the final quarter of the year, down from 6 per cent a year earlier
  • The total number of video streaming services being subscribed to by British households rose by over 300k in the quarter, with Prime Video, AppleTV+ and Paramount+ driving the major gains
  • Apple TV+ saw its highest-ever subscriber satisfaction score for ‘quality of the shows’, beating out Netflix and Disney+
  • Wednesday on Netflix was the most enjoyed SVoD title in December, followed by The Crown, The White Lotus on NOW and then Andor on Disney+
  • Harry & Meghan’s Netflix documentary resonates with GB viewers but struggles to penetrate US market
  • The proportion of consumers planning to cancel one or more SVoD services in the next quarter rose to 12 per cent vs 10 per cent in Q3’22, indicating short-term holiday quarter subscribers are quickly looking to cut back

Prime Video drives the market back to growth off the back of rising Prime membership

After a period of 12 months, when one million British households dropped out of the SVoD market, the final quarter of 2022 brought some relief, with the sector returning to growth.

“Prime Video had a strong final quarter of the year, with an increasing number of households taking out Prime memberships and using the Prime delivery service in the run-up to the Christmas holidays,” advises Dominic Sunnebo, Global Insight Director, Kantar, Worldpanel Division. “With an influx of subscriptions, Prime Video managed to hold its conversion rate steady, with 61 per cent of Prime members using the service.”

Disney+ struggles to uphold subscriber advocacy

Disney+ has had an exceptional year in Britain and managed to maintain its subscriber growth through Q4, albeit at a slower rate. It overtook Netflix earlier in the year in Net Promoter Score, a measure of subscriber advocacy, however, in Q4, Netflix drew level again as Disney+ suffered from a drop in this measure. Disney+ subscriber satisfaction with the number of new release films dropped to its lowest point throughout the year.

Paramount+ reduces reliance on Sky due to steady subscription rise

The recently launched Paramount+ service continues to draw in new subscribers, achieving 7.6 per cent share of new sign-ups in the latest quarter. This signals that direct-to-consumer sales are increasing, reducing Paramount+’s reliance on the Sky Cinema partnership. The Star Trek offerings on Paramount+, as well as global hit Yellowstone, were key draws to the service. However, subscriber recommendation of the service remains low, and overall subscribers rate the quality of shows significantly below competitors.

Discovery+ has something of the opposite challenge of Paramount+; it is managing to rapidly increase subscriber satisfaction levels but struggling to accelerate growth in numbers. Discovery+ subscribers are increasingly satisfied with the amount of original content on offer as well as the quality of the shows, which has translated into a consistent drop in planned and actual cancellation of the service.

Netflix ad-tier strategy appeals to new subscribers, but existing subscribers unconvinced

Netflix launched its ad-supported tier in Britain in November, part of a strategy to turnaround subscriber losses and bolster profit at the American giant. The new tier, Netflix Basic with ads, reduced the entry price from £6.99 (€7.97) to £4.99. Early data from Kantar EoD shows around 4 per cent of existing Netflix subscribers downgraded to the new, cheaper, ad-supported tier during December, whilst just under one in five new subscribers chose the ad-supported tier. However, there was no big bump in subscriptions as a result of the launch. Netflix held 7.5 per cent share of new subscribers in Q4 2022, indicating the £2 monthly price saving is not going to be enough to drive a significant new wave of Netflix subscribers in Britain.

Adams Family spin-off drives Netflix engagement

Despite a muted response in Great Britain to its ad supported price plan, Netflix hit Wednesday, an Adams Family spin-off starring Jenna Ortega and Catherine Zeta-Jones, dominated the most enjoyed content during December, with 16 per cent of all VoD subscribers citing it as their most enjoyed title. One in 10 new Netflix subscribers in December specifically cited Wednesday as their reason for signing up. This was followed by The Crown on Netflix and Andor on Disney+. NOW sleeper hit, The White Lotus, was the 3rd most enjoyed title over the quarter. The Harry & Meghan documentary on Netflix jumped into 5th place in terms of most-enjoyed titles in December in Great Britain, in sharp contrast to the US where it was placed 95th, despite The Crown performing very strongly in the States. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues to draw in new customers to Prime Video, with 15 per cent of their new subscribers naming the hit show as their reason for signing up.

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