Streaming overtakes subscription TV for the first time in the UK

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

UK subscribers to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV have overtaken traditional subscription TV, Ofcom announced Wednesday.

Video streaming services hit 15.4 million subscribers in the first quarter of the year, with traditional TV subscriptions trailing behind at 15.1 million.

This has boosted the overall online video sector in the UK to by 28% to £2.3 billion while annual TV subscription revenues fell by 2.7% in 2017 to £6.4 billion.

However, the Ofcom calculations found that traditional TV subscription providers – such as Virgin Media and Sky – still generated significantly more revenue than video-on-demand streaming services.

The £6.4 billion earned in 2017 still dwarfs the £895 million earned by video streaming services that same year.

Olivia Colman as The Queen in the Crown (Netflix)

Viewing figures of broadcast television are also down. Viewing numbers declined by 4.2% – a nine minute decline – between 2016 and 2017.

Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive said of the findings:

“We have seen a decline in revenues for pay TV, a fall in spending on new programs by our public service broadcasters, and the growth of global video streaming giants. These challenges cannot be underestimated.”

“But U.K. broadcasters have a history of adapting to change. By making the best British programs and working together to reach people who are turning away from TV, our broadcasters can compete in the digital age.”

BBC recently took swipe at the production costs of Netflix The Crown compared to their own budgets. They argued that for the same cost of The Crown – £97 million – they were able to produce 18 shows.



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