The sound of thousands of purse-strings tightening spells bad news for streaming giants, as Ofcom’s annual Media Nations UK report found 350,000 households cancelled one of their subscriptions last quarter.
According to Deadline, while the number of households paying for a streaming service remains high at 19.2 million, the sector saw a 1 per cent reduction in their customer base, with 67 per cent of UK homes now owning at least one on-demand subscription. Amazon and Disney saw dips in subscriber numbers of around 4 per cent, while Netflix lost 2 per cent.
Subscriber numbers had already begun to flatten in 2021, but the decline has sped up this year as rocketing fuel prices combine with inflation to “[put] pressure on consumer spend,” according to Ofcom.
Netflix remains the most popular paid streaming service by some margin, with 60 per cent of UK households subscribed, while Prime Video and Disney+ boast 46 and 23 per cent respectively, with the latter gaining a lot of momentum in recent months. Newer competitors Apple TV+ (6 per cent) and Discovery+ (8 per cent) struggle to muscle their way into the market, while other studios (here’s looking at you, Paramount+) ramp up the race to start their own niche subscription services.
It’s not all bad news for the on-demand industry, however. According to Ofcom, around three-quarters of customers surveyed said they would consider re-subscribing, as people become increasingly willing to pick and choose which service they want in any given month. An embattled BBC also have cause to celebrate, as they retain their title of most popular VoD service with almost 75 per cent of households watching on a regular basis.
High-end TV production also saw a significant boom, with a record number of shows filming in the UK since the TV tax-credit was introduced in 2013. 211 high-end shows were made here in 2021, 50 more than the last normal production year in 2019, more than half of which were productions from outside the UK. With the likes of Amazon’s Rings of Power series set to begin shooting it’s second season soon, the production industry at least seems to be going from strength to strength.