Hundreds of thousands of UK households ditch Amazon Prime

·3-min read
Jack Ryan TV series from Amazon Prime - Ep
Jack Ryan TV series from Amazon Prime - Ep

Almost 600,000 British households cancelled their Amazon Prime subscriptions ahead of a price rise as the cost of living crisis hits streaming companies.

The number of UK Prime customers fell by 590,000 in the second quarter of 2022 according to Ofcom, the industry watchdog, a drop of 5pc. Amazon announced an increase in its fee by £1 a month to £8.99 in July.

Meanwhile Netflix endured a 1pc fall in subscribers, down by 210,000 year on year to 17.1m during the second quarter, as viewers tightened their belts to counter soaring inflation.

Disney bucked the trend by adding 1.8m subscribers to 6.6m – an increase of 38pc – as the Star Wars producer became the world's biggest streaming service, although its rate of growth slowed from previous months.

Overall, Ofcom's Media Nations report found the number of households subscribing to at least one streaming service had fallen by 350,000 to 19.2m

Despite the drop, the media watchdog said that some of those subscribers may return when the economic horizons brighten.

The regulator said: "Cancellations do not necessarily represent customers that have been lost for good.

"Ofcom’s survey of subscribers who cancelled earlier this year found that almost three quarters of customers said they thought they would resubscribe – reflecting the flexibility that allows customers to pick up and drop subscriptions depending on changes in programmes, needs or circumstances."

The data calls into question how resilient streaming services are to economic downturns despite some analysts claiming they have become a necessity households cannot do without.

Watch: Average person expects to stream this many different movies or TV shows yearly

Sky was among entertainment companies to have proven recession resistant in the past because it had few commercial competitors in the UK.

However, it is now showing signs of strain as the streaming revolution hands customers the choice to downgrade to a cheaper provider such as Netflix.

Sky reported earlier this year that customer numbers had fallen by 255,000 to 2.7m for the three months to June, as it grappled with "macro economic challenges across Europe".

Ofcom found that the number of subscribers to NOW, Sky's streaming service, had dropped by 220,000 to 2.1m for the second quarter.

Disney has been among the outliers in the global streaming slowdown, as viewers lapped up the Star Wars series Obi Wan Kenobi and the Predator reboot Prey.

The world's biggest entertainment company added 14.4m customers to its streaming service Disney+ in the quarter ending on July 2, taking total worldwide sign-ups to 221m.

It is now just ahead of rival Netflix, which has been losing customers and reported 220.7m total global subscribers.

The pressure to hold onto subscribers amid intensifying competition and tougher economic conditions has prompted Disney, Netflix and Amazon Prime to introduce advertising-funded options that make watching shows cheaper or free for viewers.

Meanwhile, Ofcom said the ongoing shift towards streaming meant the number of younger viewers watching broadcast TV had fallen by two thirds over the past ten years.