More than three million British households subscribe to Netflix, twice as many as a year ago, according to the latest estimates. The new figure means more than one in 10 households have joined the film and television streaming service and signals an acceleration in take-up over the last 12 months. It places the company well ahead of its nearest direct competitors, Amazon, particularly among young viewers who are believed to perceive an extra ‘cool’ factor around Netflix.
It means around an extra 1.5 million households have joined Netflix in the last year, according to Enders Analysis. In the previous 12 months only an estimated 500,000 signed up. The acceleration has come alongside a pair of television series hits that are exclusive to Netflix in the UK: Breaking Bad, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
It has also been driven by a wholesale deal Netflix signed with Virgin Media in September, which has made easily available on the main television in 3.7 million households as part of a cable subscription. It is expected that the service will get another boost later in the year when it is made available on YouView set-top boxes provided by BT and TalkTalk, which are in more than a million living rooms.
The increasing popularity of Netflix could put pressure on BSkyB to follow suit. It is Britain’s biggest pay-tv provider, with 10.7 million customers across satellite and its own streaming service, Now TV, and has so far resisted allowing third party on-demand services onto its platform. Amazon’s subscription streaming service is less than half as popular as Netflix, according to the new estimates, with only 1.2 million households. Its viewers tend to be older, BARB’s survey said.
BARB’s survey believes that there are various reasons for this. They think that people live in an age where they are too busy to be celebrating the tradition of waiting an entire week for new episodes at a particular time on a particular day. Online subscription offers the public instantaneous satisfaction, they can choose to simply click next and move on to the next episode. People can utilise its services on the go, with the option to watch it anywhere, from phones to computers to TV sets themselves.
It is also believed that the most crucial aspect to their success is that they are completely ad-free, and the fact that they are providing quality entertainment which is exclusive to their services and providing platforms for less mainstream media. Nevertheless, mainstream satellite networks have countered this well. People can now record material for watching later on the box and also sign up for online viewing.
Where networks are currently winning is in providing sports, weather and news. However, it is believed that it’s only a matter of time before people have the same choice amongst subscription services. At last count, Netflix had over 40 million subscribers worldwide and smaller services like LoveFilm have more than 3 million, numbers that are continuously growing. While the public wait to see what the next development brings for family viewing, BARB believe the best option seems to be making the most of both standard TV and streaming services heightening the entertainment experience for families through both instant fulfillment and incredible convenience.
For the first time since Apple popularised the paid download in 2003, the music business has also been changing, undergoing another format shift. Music streaming services have been giving music-lovers access to millions of songs. Online-radio versions, including Pandora and Apple’s iTunes Radio, choose what consumers hear, and the firms make their revenues through advertising. Letting customers select songs from a catalogue of 20million to 30million songs, charging premium subscribers a monthly fee. In America, the largest music market, 21% of the industry’s 2013 revenues came from streaming.
What productive aspects does the future hold for streaming media services?