TV streaming statistics in the UK 2020

For every Netflix subscription there are 2.5 viewers.

Streaming services have changed the way we watch TV. No longer do you need to wait a week for the next episode of your favourite show. Whether you stream with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW or another service, more than 13 million households in the UK now have at least 1 streaming subscription.

Quick overview

  • 53% of all households in the UK are subscribed to at least 1 video-on-demand service. This is up 5.2% from Q4 2019 and equivalent to 700,000 homes.
  • 6.7 million (24%) homes subscribed to 2 or more services.
  • In Q1 2020, Netflix is the UK’s most popular streaming service reporting more than 13 million subscriptions in the UK, while Amazon Prime has 7.9 million and NOW has 1.6 million.
  • The global revenue of video-on-demand services is £40.1 billion, of which £1.5 billion comes from the UK. The services are making approximately £45.44 per user every year.

12.6%

more homes have at least 1 streaming subscription in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019.

The UK’s most popular streaming services

Our graph illustrates which of the streaming services the British public used in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The services are ranked based on new subscribers each year.

Netflix is steadily climbing the ladder and getting more and more of our attention every year. From being used by 54% of streamers, it’s now up to 75%, making it the most popular service in the UK. Second is BBC Player, which actually lost 1 point in 2019 compared to 2018.

YouTube is a strong contender with its paid-for service YouTube Premium, offering the same videos but without advertisements, has joined the contest in 2019. 2% of those who use subscription services now use the channel’s Premium selection.

The biggest losers in 2019 compared to 2018 are Google Play and iTunes, which started low but lost 33.33% and 40% of their viewers, respectively.

Streaming service 2017 2018 2019
Netflix 54% 70% 75%
BBC iPlayer 66% 61% 60%
Amazon Prime Video 33% 44% 50%
YouTube 49% 43% 39%
ITV Player 36% 29% 29%
All 4 30% 28% 29%
Now TV 12% 15% 16%
SkyGo 18% 13% 14%
Google Play 8% 6% 6%
Sky Store Player 13% 6% 4%
iTunes 8% 5% 3%
YouTube Premium 2%
Talk Talk TV 2% 2% 2%
Other 12% 5% 5%

The number of people watching in the UK

Netflix is by far the most popular streaming service in the UK, with more than 13 million subscribers. Amazon Prime Video is not far behind after experiencing a bigger growth over the last two years, decreasing the difference between the two services. Amazon has had an average increase of subscribers of 28% per year, compared to Netflix’s 20% increase.

NOW hasn’t been as lucky. Any new subscribers during 2019 both came and left, leaving the service steady on 1.62 million subscribers. Of 2020’s newcomers, Disney+ started off strongly with its launch getting 4.3 million subscribers in the UK as of June 2020.

6.7 million (24%) households are signed up to 2 services or more. The most common duo-subscription is Netflix and Amazon Prime, with 32% of people having both. 6.1% have Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW.

Streaming service 2018 2019 2020 Average increase per year
Netflix 9.11 million 11.47 million 13.01 million 19.67%
Amazon 4.83 million 5.96 million 7.86 million 27.64%
Now TV 1.46 million 1.62 million 1.62 million 5.48%
Disney + 4.6 million

Streaming during the coronavirus pandemic

As the COVID-19 lockdown hadn’t started in the UK until Q2, we will keep you updated on how the pandemic affected the subscription services’ numbers. But from what we can see already at the company’s own estimations, Netflix is comforting many people during lockdown with over 167 million subscribers worldwide. Between January and March 2020, the service anticipated an increase in subscribers of 16.9%, giving it 174.1 million paid subscriptions.

There have been few winners during the pandemic, but Disney is definitely one of them. Upon launching on 24 March 2020 in the UK, the Disney+ subscription service had over 5 million downloads for its app and had 4.6 million subscribers as of June 2020.

Devices used for streaming

The device that is used the most for streaming is the TV, with 42% of people saying they use this method to stream. The second most popular screen is the computer, with 39% using this. With an average of 34% positive responses, mobile phones and tablets are also popular options.

Device Respondents
TV 42%
Computer 39%
Mobile 35%
Tablet 32%
Connected TV box 28%
Video game console 17%

The growth of the UK’s biggest streaming service

With 13.01 million subscribers in the UK, Netflix is the UK’s biggest streaming service in subscriptions. The financial side is not looking bad either.

The graph below shows Netflix’s exponential growth in revenue over an 18-year period, which demonstrates its ongoing spike in popularity.

In 2019, revenue has increased by larger and larger increments, with revenue being its highest ever at almost £15.72 billion. Over the last 3 years on the graph, revenue increased at an average of 25% each year. This year, the company is making £17.64 billion in revenue as of June 2020, so the number is expected to rise before the end of the first year of the decade.

Year Annual revenue in billion
2002 £0.12
2003 £0.21
2004 £0.39
2005 £0.53
2006 £0.78
2007 £0.94
2008 £1.07
2009 £1.30
2010 £1.68
2011 £2.50
2012 £2.82
2013 £3.41
2014 £4.29
2015 £5.29
2016 £6.89
2017 £9.13
2018 £12.32
2019 £15.72
2020 £17.64

Streaming wars

When choosing which streaming service to sign up to, it can be hard knowing which one to pick. It might not just be about the numbers of titles, but it can be an indicator.

Making this important choice in the UK, Amazon Prime actually has the widest selection of titles to watch, with close to 20,000 titles, although not all are included in the subscription. Netflix offers 5,500 titles and there are almost 900 films and series available on Disney+. Depending on if you want to watch a good nostalgic marathon or the show everyone seems to be talking about, the subscription service you choose will be crucial.

Service Shows Films Total
Netflix 1,718 3,802 5,520
Amazon Prime Video 1,885 18,032 19,917
Now TV 584 1,245 1,829
Disney+ 136 736 872

For another point of view, subscription services are also in the running for different movie awards. Between 2015 and 2019, Netflix got 30 nominations for the Academy Award for original content. It ended up winning 20% of those nominations, taking home 6 awards.

During the same timespan, Amazon had 11 nominations and 3 wins, winning the award 27% of the time.

Sources

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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