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4 in 5 Brits used paid streaming services last year (but 8.9 million Brits also streamed illegally!)

  • Viewing films is the most popular illegal streaming activity, with 13% of streamers saying they did so over the past 12 months.
  • 4 in 5 (81%) Brits used a paid streaming service in some capacity last year.
  • Netflix is the most popular paid streaming service, with two thirds (66%) of streamers using this platform.
  • Almost a third (31%) of online watchers in London do so illicitly, making this the region where this is most common.

Wednesday 9 October 2019, LONDON –

4 in 5 (81%) Brits used a paid streaming service in some capacity over the last year according to new research from personal finance comparison site This is equivalent to 42.4 million people.

However, 8.9 million Brits also illegally streamed TV shows, films and sport over the past 12 months. The fact that 17% of Brits admit to having streamed illegally makes it the sixth most popular streaming method in the UK.

The most popular entertainment to stream illicitly is films with 13% of streamers doing so, equalling 5.4 million Brits. TV programmes (12%) like Game of Thrones came closely behind in second place, with football matches (11%) in third and finally other sports (9%), such as boxing.

In terms of the paid streaming services, Netflix is the most popular platform with two thirds (66%) using it over the last 12 months, this equivalent to 28.4 million users in the UK. Amazon placed second with almost half (49%) of British streamers using this service and Sky Go placed third (29%).

MUBI was the least popular paid streaming platform with only 1 in 20 (5%) British streamers using the service over the last year.

Similar percentages of males and females are streaming overall (83% vs 81%). However, men tended to binge illegally more so than women, with almost a quarter (25%) of male streamers doing so compared to only 17% of females over the last year. This is due to males illegally streaming football (14% vs 7%) and other sports (12% vs 6%) twice as often as females.

Londoners are the most forward thinking when it comes to streaming as 87% of residents there streamed over the last year. In contrast, the North East of England is the region that is most traditional when it comes to their viewing habits with three quarters (74%) of those who live there streaming.

Londoners are far more likely than any other region in the UK to watch on illegal platforms with almost a third (31%) of streamers here saying they used such services over the last 12 months. On the other end of the scale is the South West of England, only 15% of online watchers there did so illicitly.

18- to 24-year-olds streamed the most overall with 95% of them using a paid online streaming platform, but those who fall into this age bracket were also the most likely to stream illegally, with more than a third (35%) of those who stream saying that they did so over the last year.

Unsurprisingly, those aged over 55 streamed the least as only 69% watched online. Similarly, they were also the least likely to stream illegally as only a 10th (11%) said that they took part in this type of streaming activity.

To see the full research into how Brits are streaming, including age, regional and gender breakdowns, visit:

Speaking about the findings, Jon Ostler, CEO (UK) at said:

“The fact that our research found over 80% of Brits used a paid streaming service last year shows just how much we rely on online streaming. Services like these give you unlimited access to hundreds of films and TV shows, with Netflix currently listing 1,847 titles in the UK for example.

These inevitably work out being far cheaper than the alternative of buying DVDs or subscribing to specific TV channels to watch your favourite programmes. Although it can be tempting to view illegally, there are many legal services that can offer reasonable rates that cater for all genres and also cover sporting events.”


Methodology commissioned Onepoll on 24–27 September 2019 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
Jon Ostler, CEO (UK) at is available for further comment, opinions or interview regarding the research


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