Thursday 24 January 2019 12:55 pm

Netflix leads the way as UK on-demand video subscriptions soar

The number of UK homes that subscribe to an on-demand TV service has soared in the last year, with Netflix the most popular choice, new figures have revealed.

A total of 11.6m UK households had a subscription to at least one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Now TV in the third quarter of 2018, up 22 per cent on the same period last year, according to data from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB).

Read more: Netflix shares fall following weak first quarter forecast

Netflix is the main driving force behind the spike in subscriptions, seeing an increase of 2.2m households over the last year. Amazon added more than a million new homes, while Now TV gained just under 200,000.

The report by BARB also showed a 40 per cent increase in the number of homes with two or more subscriptions, rising from 2.8m to just under 4m in the last year.

The figures reflect the growing popularity of subscription TV services, as consumers increasingly move away from linear broadcasting.

BARB said the sharp increase in viewing may be linked to a November update to Sky Q, which allows viewers to access Netflix through their Sky box.

The rising demand for subscription services has been driven by younger audiences, with 16 to 24-year-olds 51 per cent more likely than the UK average to have access to a streaming service.

Though all three services are popular in homes with children of all ages, the report said Now TV is particularly popular among families with babies and toddlers, while Netflix is disproportionately popular in homes with young teenagers.

Netflix saw its share price drop last week after its first quarter revenues and subscriber growth fell short of estimates.

The streaming giant reported revenue of $4.19bn (£3.2bn), just short of the $4.21bn predicted by consensus estimates. Its record paid subscriber growth of 8.84m also narrowly missed expectations.

Read more: Ofcom boss calls on British broadcasters to create Netflix rival

Existing streaming services face increasing competition on the horizon as Apple, Disney, NBS and IMDB have all revealed they will launch rival services in the coming years.

Ofcom boss Sharon White last year called on UK public service broadcasters to pull together their services to form a platform to take on the likes of Netflix.