Thousands cancel Netflix or Prime Video as UK cost of living rises

Nearly 800,000 UK households canceled their Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscriptions between April and June, as the cost of living crisis forces streaming fans to cut back on the number of paying services to just a few favourites.

The number of households with access to at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service fell from 19.57 million in the first quarter to 19.19 million at the end of the second, a net decrease of 382,000, according to the latest survey. of the Broadcasting Audience Research Board (Barb).

The UK survey figures follow two quarterly reports of subscriber losses from Netflix, which has lost tens of billions of its market value after shedding 1.5 million customers so far this year, the first drop in subscriptions in a decade for the UK’s most popular. paid streaming service.

Between April and June, 206,000 households dropped their subscription to Netflix, which has raised subscription prices twice in the past two years, shrinking the streaming service’s UK customer base from 17.29 million to 17. 08 million.

Netflix, which spends $17bn (£14bn) creating and licensing shows annually, including more than $1bn in the UK, is the largest market for productions outside the US, it’s home to hit shows including Stranger Things and movies like Ryan Gosling’s blockbuster The Gray Man.

Amazon’s Prime Video, which is generating its own price increase for British customers from September, reported the steepest decline among the most popular SVOD services in the UK.

The number of UK households with access to Prime Video, which can be accessed as part of Amazon’s Prime subscription service, fell by 589,000 quarter-on-quarter, from 13.35 million to 12.76 million.

Sky’s Now TV fell from 43,000 households, taking its subscriber base to 2.07 million households at the end of the second quarter.

“The numbers we report today show that SVOD services are not immune as households work hard to make ends meet,” said Justin Sampson, CEO of Barb.

“We don’t ask households why they choose to add or remove subscriptions, although the sharp increase in energy prices in March/April must have been a catalyst for people to review all of their monthly spending.”

However, it was not all doom and gloom for the UK broadcast sector. Disney+, which continues to show growth globally, added 91,000 households in the second quarter to bring its customer base in the country to 6.62 million households.

And Apple TV+, which stunned its much richer and more popular rivals by becoming the first streaming service to win a best picture Oscar for Coda earlier this year, added 43,000 households to bring its UK subscriber base. Joined 1.61 million.

In April, research by Kantar Worldpanel showed that the number of UK households with at least one paid streaming service had fallen by 215,000 in the first quarter, marking the end of a decade of almost uninterrupted growth. .

Barb said it posted a small net drop of 100,000 households with access to subscription streaming services in the third quarter of last year, and has only posted one more drop in quarterly numbers since it began its quarterly Establishment Survey in 2014.

“Our most recent data confirms other sources that reported declining subscription levels for SVOD services during the first half of 2022,” said Sampson.

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