SVOD soars in the UK | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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Despite the fears of many, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) is not replacing traditional TV in the UK and instead has become a much sought after complement, says BARB, one of the country’s leading ratings agencies.

Netflix OITNB iPad lifestyleIn its UK Television Landscape Report, a quarterly review of population trends and changes in how people can watch television, BARB found that SVOD services are on the march in the UK, with nearly a quarter of the country’s households subscribing to one of the three main SVOD suppliers, that is Netflix, Amazon Video and Sky’s NOW TV.

As one may imagine, Netflix was found to be the UK SVOD market leader by some margin, with its growth far outpacing other services. The number of households with the Netflix service grew by 1.4 million between the end of 2014 and the same period in 2015, compared with an increase of 500,000 households for Amazon Video and 300,000 households for NOW TV.

Yet contrary to the fears of some in the pay-TV industry and the boasts of those in the SVOD industry, the survey found that the on-demand packages were complementing rather than replacing traditional linear TV. Netflix and Amazon Video subscriptions were more likely than average to be found in homes that had Virgin cable or Sky satellite packages. By contrast, NOW TV was more typically to be found in houses that had terrestrial viewers. Penetration in cable and YouView homes was particularly high because of the deals Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk have made with Netflix.

Almost a third of cable and YouView homes take Netflix, compared with 13% of terrestrial only households. BARB suggests that one factor that contributes to this disparity is the lower broadband take-up rate in terrestrial only households. Broadband take-up in YouView, Sky and cable households is well over 90%, while in terrestrial-only homes it is only 71%.

The data also found that SVOD packages tend to appeal to households who already consume a great deal of TV. Just more than half (55%) of SVOD households are large (three or more occupants) compared with 35% of the overall household population. As one would suspect, SVOD homes also skew younger and more up-market than the average. Two-fifths of the occupants of SVOD homes are aged 24 or under, compared with 30% in the population as a whole. Furthermore, and of great significance to marketers, nearly two-thirds (64%) of SVOD homes have an ABC1 social grade, compared to the national average of 51%.

The Establishment Survey data also highlighted Netflix’s dominance among SVOD services when we look at the proportion of users who use only one service. A much higher proportion of Amazon Video and Now TV households also have Netflix than the other way round. 82% of Netflix households subscribe to only one SVOD service, compared with 49% for Now TV and 54% for Amazon Video. This says BARB points to a higher level of service satisfaction with Netflix or could also be the case that the bundling of Amazon Video with Amazon Prime means that some users of that package are less directly committed to the service, since their primary motivation is the other benefits of Amazon Prime rather than the video service.