The number of UK households with a subscription VOD (SVOD) service decreased by half a million quarter on quarter, according to Barb’s latest data.
Barb’s Establishment Survey showed 18.8m UK homes, or 65% of the population, had access to an SVOD service in Q4 2023, compared with 19.3m, or 67%, in Q3.
The analysis found decreases across the board for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Sky’s Now, with a small increase for Paramount+ quarter on quarter.
The study also included an estimate for Netflix’s advertising tier for the first time, sitting at 1.45m UK households, equating to 5.1% of homes. These homes formed part of the overall Netflix household subscription figure rather than an addition.
The streaming giant had the highest penetration of UK households, with 57% having access in Q4. The next closest was Amazon Prime Video with 45% and Disney+ with 26%. These were all down by at least 1 percentage point quarter on quarter.
The proportion of homes with two or more SVOD services also dipped from 13.3m (46.4%) in Q3 to 12.8m (44.7%) in Q4.
“The latest data from our Establishment Survey show access to pure-play VOD services dropped slightly in Q4 last year,” Doug Whelpdale, head of insight at Barb, said. “As they continue to battle it out in the UK viewing ecosystem, the festive period proved a competitive time. Families may have prioritised festive spending at a time when the broadcaster offering is strong — and mostly free.”
These quarterly decreases in UK consumers’ adoption of SVOD are in contrast to the latest analysis from Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand study of the global video streaming market that found an average 1.8 percentage point increase in household penetration across all tracked markets in Q4.
Kantar’s quarterly report attributed this growth partially to “the appeal of ad-tier subscriptions”, with 48% of new Netflix subscribers opting for the ad-funded option. The streaming giant registered subscriber growth in all of its tracked markets, aside from the UK, where they were “marginally down” quarter on quarter, the report added.