The stay-at home directive from the UK government has been good news for the streaming industry with six million new video streaming subscriptions purchased across the UK during the Covid-19 lockdown period, 21% of British households says a research service from Kantar.
The company’s Entertainment On Demand research is based on a longitudinal panel of 15,000 consumers and boosted by 2,500 new subscriber interviews each quarter and is designed to help the broadcast industry and investors understand the full consumer journey for digital video subscription services.
It found that the desire by British viewers to seek out new entertainment options, took the average number of subscriptions to 2.3 per household with 56% of UK households having at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) contract. However, the research also found that 2.1 million households with multiple subscriptions plan to cancel at least one in the next three months.
Just over half (52%) of the new subscriptions were for Disney+, despite the service only launching on 24 March and almost half of the subscribers for the direct-to-consumer service signed up for an annual subscription, demonstrating said Kantar the effectiveness of the £49.99 pre-order offer.
Yet despite all of this, Netflix dominated in customer advocacy, with a Net Promoter Score of +46, far higher than its competitive set, and its cult breakout series Tiger King even beat the Mandalorian as the most cited content enjoyed, even amongst Disney+ subscribers. Kantar said that access to back catalogues proved a key differentiator, creating challenges for those brands without wide ranging content.
Netflix was the top driver of category growth, with 44% of its new subscribers accessing SVOD for the first time. The service also has the highest level of customer satisfaction in terms of the variety of TV shows it offers, the amount of original content and ease of use. All three of the most recommended series over the last three months – Tiger King, Ozark and Stranger Things – are Netflix exclusive. Original content and an extensive back catalogue has also driven significant growth for Disney+; 40% of subscribers cite The Mandalorian as their reason for joining the service.
AppleTV+ saw high levels of engagement across smartphone and tablet, but lower than competition on TV . This said Kantar highlighted Apple’s focus and challenge on driving Apple TV hardware sales to enable viewership. Amazon Prime Video subscribers were found to be impressed with its variety of TV series and ease of use, but are less content with the lack of new release films available. Smart TV purchases were a primary trigger for one in five new SVOD subscriptions.
“As more UK consumers turn to subscription-funded streaming for their entertainment needs, it’s clear they want a wide range of content, with Netflix and Disney+ the clear winners,” said Dominic Sunnebo, senior vice president at Kantar, Worldpanel Division, commenting on the research.
“With over half of SVOD subscribers happy with the value for money subscriptions offer, this move towards stacked services is likely to continue. Covid-19 has no doubt driven the short term-gains for subscription services, but with so many planning to cut their subscriptions in the coming months SVOD brands need to adopt new marketing strategies to stem the flow. Disney’s pre-launch special was a perfect example of how successful this can be, with almost half of its customers signing up to its annual subscription offer.”