- British consumers spend £5.5 billion a year on TV streaming subscriptions – with viewers using an average of over three different on-demand services
- Netflix is the most popular service, followed by Amazon Prime Video and then BBC iPlayer
- 15 million people use an on-demand service each day, but more than 2.5 million never use their subscription, or use it less than once a month
- Nearly half (45%) believe value for money is the most important factor when deciding to subscribe to a service, with three in ten (30%) looking for the range of content
- BritBox offers the best value to its viewers – with subscribers spending 33p per hour of content watched, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix rank second and third.
People in the UK are spending £5.5 billion a year on streaming subscriptions, according to the latest research from Digital TV, a TV package and provider comparison service, with viewers each using more than three different on-demand services.
Netflix remains the most popular streaming service with 27 million people watching it, with Amazon Prime Video coming in second, just ahead of BBC iPlayer.
Nearly 15 million consumers are now using at least one on-demand service every day, with the number of hours spent watching TV on demand higher than the time spent watching linear TV, such as BBC, ITV or Sky channels. More than 2.5 million people subscribe to a service that they either never use, or only use once a month.
When looking to take out a streaming subscription ‘value for money’ was the most important consideration (45%), while the breadth of content (30%) came in second. Access to the latest shows is considered much less important, although younger viewers (17%) were twice as likely to consider it compared to older viewers (8%).
Value for money
Two thirds (65%) of subscribers believe that streaming and on-demand services offer good value for money, and this is perhaps unsurprising given that even the most expensive comes in at a mere 50p per hour of viewing.
The BBC and ITV’s collaboration streaming service, BritBox, leads the way when it comes to value for money, with viewers spending an average of 33p per hour of content watched. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix ranked second and third respectively, although Netflix subscribers watched considerably more content than those of any other streaming service.
TV subscription service which offers the best value for money
|Streaming subscription||Typical cost / month||Hours used / month||Value(pence/hour watched)|
|Amazon Prime Video||£5.99||17.77||£0.34|
While most people feel streaming services do offer value for money, nearly half of people (46%) think that there are too many streaming services currently on offer, with content spread over a wide range of services.
Hollie Croft, streaming expert at Digital TV, says: “Streaming and on-demand TV has changed the way we watch our favourite shows and movies, with millions of us using a service every single day.
“With so much choice now available, people are having to subscribe to multiple services to keep up to date with their favourite shows and movies, even if they aren’t using their subscription.
“The good news is that all of these services offer monthly rolling contracts, which allow you to turn off and on your subscription without penalty, whenever you wish. So, if you find you are no longer using a particular service, you can switch it off, until you decide to watch it again.”
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Notes to editors
The research was conducted online by Opinium Research between 2 to 5 November 2021, with a sample of 2,000 adults and weighted to be nationally representative.
- Subscribers to TV streaming services were asked “To the best of your knowledge, and to the nearest figure, how much do you spend per month on each subscription?” The average for each service was multiplied by the number of subscribers as a percentage of the adult population of the UK (55.4m) to give an overall figure of £5,651,165,650.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “Which TV streaming or on-demand streaming services do you use? Please select all that apply.” 1,332 people selected a total of 4,298 services. 4,298 / 1,332 = 3.2.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “Which TV streaming or on-demand streaming services do you use? Please select all that apply.” 75% selected Netflix, 59% selected Amazon Prime Video, 57% selected BBC iPlayer, 40% selected ITV Hub, 36% selected All4, 29% selected Disney+, 13% selected Now TV, 9% selected Apple TV+, 4% selected BritBox.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “How often do you log onto any on-demand or streaming site or app?” 41% selected “at least once a day” 67% of consumers watch a TV streaming or on-demand service 67% of 55.4m = 37,118,000. 41% of 37,118,000 = 15,218,380.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “How often do you log onto any on-demand or streaming site or app?” 3% selected less than once a month and 4% selected never. 7% of 37,118,000 = 2,598,260.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “When choosing to subscribe to an on-demand streaming service, what is the most important consideration?” 45% selected ‘value for money’, 30% selected ‘volume of content available’, 12% selected ‘access to latest trending shows’ and 11% selected ‘option to watch ad free’.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “How many hours do you spend watching films and TV shows on each service per week?” The average for each subscription service was multiplied by 52 (weeks) and then divided by 12 (months) to give an average number of monthly hours spent watching the service. This was then divided by the standard subscription service as advertised by each service to give a cost per hour watched.
- Consumers who used a streaming service or watched linear TV were asked “How many hours do you spend watching films and TV shows on each service per week?” The number for each service was multiplied by 52 (weeks) and then multiplied by the number of people who watched the service as a percentage of the population. The total hours which subscribers watched all subscription services = 25,317,622,720. The total number of hours which respondents watched linear TV = 25,062,960,000. 25,317,622,720 > 25,062,960,000
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “When choosing to subscribe to an on-demand streaming service, what is the most important consideration?” 17% of 18-25 year-olds selected ‘access to the latest trending shows’ compared to 8% of respondents aged over 55.
- Consumers who used a streaming service were asked “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? TV streaming and on-demand streaming sites are good value for money” 65% selected they ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ and 8% who selected they ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’.
- Consumers were asked “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? There are too many on-demand and streaming sites” 46% selected they ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ and 18% selected they ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’.