Advanced Television

Data: ITVX premium growth accelerates

April 20, 2023

By Colin Mann

Marketing data and analytics company Kantar has released its latest Entertainment on Demand (EoD) data on the British streaming market. Kantar’s EoD study in Great Britain uncovers the following behaviours within the VoD market between January to March 2023:

  • VoD-enabled households that subscribed to at least one video streaming service in Great Britain fell to 16.10million, down 144k, quarter on quarter, representing 55 per cent of households, compared to 16.91million in Q122, and 16.95million in Q121
  • 4 per cent of British households took out at least one new streaming subscription in the first quarter of the year, up from 3 per cent a year earlier. While 7 per cent of households cancelled at least one subscription as part of their post-Christmas ‘subscription cull’
  • The total number of video streaming services being subscribed to by British households fell by 167k in the quarter to 29.44million, with Netflix seeing the largest absolute losses in subscriber numbers
  • The Last of Us on NOW was the most enjoyed SVoD title, followed by Clarkson’s Farm on Prime Video and You on Netflix
  • After the post-Christmas cull of subscriptions in Q123, the second quarter of the year looks to be more stable, with planned video cancellations dropping to 6.8 per cent of subscription holders, a fall both year on year and quarter on quarter

Ecosystem strategy protects Amazon from post-Christmas Cull 

At the end of 2022, Kantar data showed consumers planned to scale back their video streaming subscriptions in Q123 and this played out, with 144k households dropping out of the VoD sector altogether and a net loss of 167k subscriptions. However, some services were more heavily impacted by this trend than others, with Prime Video showing resilience.

“It’s often the case that consumers take out Prime Membership with Amazon in Q4 for the fast and free delivery service and at the same time utilise the Prime Video service for entertainment over the Christmas holidays, before cutting back the next quarter,” notes Dominic Sunnebo, Global Insight Director, Kantar, Worldpanel Division. “However, whilst Prime membership did drop back in Q1, the drop was limited to just a 1 per cent-point drop, significantly lower than seen during the same period a year ago and importantly engagement with Prime Video among loyal Prime Members actually increased in Q123.”

“The overall effect was a relatively flat Prime Video subscriber numbers, in a falling market. The release of Clarkson’s Farm during the quarter played a key role in engaging Prime Video subscribers, with the title the #2 most enjoyed across all SVoD platforms during Q123. Amazon’s investment in Sport also played an important role, with sporting content driving one out of every three new subscribers to Prime Video in the quarter.”

AppleTV+ investment in British content resonates pays dividends 

AppleTV+ had a strong first quarter to 2023, seeing the second fastest growth in absolute subscriber numbers vs. the previous quarter, only beaten by newly launched ITVX premium. AppleTV+ took #4 spot in terms of share of new subscribers over the quarter, with Slow Horses, a top title driving new subscriber acquisition.

“Whilst AppleTV+ continues to attract new subscribers, its growth prospects remain somewhat hamstrung until it can get a handle on churn, which remains well above its competitive set,” advises Sunnebo. “The investment in British content clearly resonates with the population and AppleTV+ subscribers rate the quality of programming on the service higher than any other platform. Apple’s challenge, however, is that it can’t produce new series fast enough for subscribers to feel like they’re getting sufficient value for money. While Apple scores top on quality on shows, it remained bottom on value for money, with the #1 reason for cancellation being ‘not enough new TV shows.”

ITVX premium gains momentum on the back of its rebrand

ITVX, and ITVX premium, a relaunched service from ITV, replacing its existing ITVHub and ITVHub+ offering, had an impressive first quarter showing. ITVX noted a jump in weekly users in Q123 vs ITVHub in Q422, along with ITVX premium gaining 5 per cent of new SVoD subscribers in the quarter with the incorporation of BritBox content. A Spy Among Friends helped to attract a new audience to ITVX premium, and was the top title driving new subscriber acquisition in the quarter. A Year on Planet Earth, a nature programme narrated by Stephen Fry also proved popular.

As well as the variety of TV shows, the ability to watch shows without adverts was a key attraction to ITVX premium subscribers, cited by 28 per cent as a key reason for signing up.

Netflix hurting from consumers looking to save money

The launch of Netflix cheaper ad-supported price tier has helped it see a small pick-up in share of new subscribers. However, increased cancellations as its subscribers look for ways to save money diluted any significant benefit in terms of total subscriber numbers.

“There has been no dramatic drop across most of Netflix’s key performance metrics, but rather, a gradual decline across almost all areas, including satisfaction with variety of TV series, amount of original content and quality of shows,” observes Sunnebo. “This is further demonstrated further by looking at the most enjoyed content across Britain, in the first quarter of 2023, with just three of the top 10 most enjoyed VoD titles being on Netflix, compared to six a year ago. In addition, and perhaps the most concerning area is that Netflix subscriber net satisfaction in value for money fell from +31 per cent a year ago to +22 per cent in the first quarter of 2023. Netflix consumers are increasingly questioning the value for money they get from their subscriptions and when consumer finances remain tight, this is translating into increased churn.”

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