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Netflix in one in 10 UK homes: pummels Amazon but complements Sky

It’s official: Netflix is the most-used video streaming service in the UK, with one in 10 households using the film and TV service.

The reasearch by BARB, which measures the television viewing of the UK’s population across TVs and internet-connected devices, says compared to Amazon Prime Video (formerly Lovefilm), Netflix reigns supreme, especially with younger viewers.

The majority of Netflix users in the UK are aged between 16 and 24, while Amazon Prime Video has clearly captured the slightly more mature viewers, with its peak between the ages of 25 and 34 and only eclipsing Netflix users in the 35-44-year-old category.

Netflix is officially the most popular TV and film streaming service in the UK
Netflix is officially the most popular TV and film streaming service in the UK

Joe Lewis, project director at BARB, says the research gives a whole lot of insight into those viewing content on Netflix: “Firstly, they are content lovers, already paying subscriptions to linear channels and indeed more likely to subscribe to movies and sports.

“They are also more likely to be multi-person households with children, own multiple televisions and skew heavily towards larger screens with HD reception.”

While Netflix was in 10.2 per cent of the UK’s 25.7 million homes, Amazon Prime Instant Video is susbcribed to by just 4.5 per cent, found BARB’s quarterly survey of more than 13,000 households.

Lewis explains that families are accommodating the needs of all members, from the youngest children up to the oldest adults, and having access to a multi-screen service means everyone can finally agree to disagree when it comes to finding something to watch.

Lewis says there have been suggestions across the industry that people increasingly using over the top video on demand (OTT VOD) services is having a negative impact on pay-tv services such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.

However, Netflix in particular is popular in many homes with Sky Movies or Sky Sports subscriptions, and very popular in cable homes – possibly since Virgin Media launched a Netflix app on TiVo.

“Rather than being disruptive to current deliveries, perhaps OTT VOD services are complimentary to the traditional linear broadcast and platforms, simply filling a void that ‘Blockbusters’ or ‘HMV’ box sets have done in the past,” he concludes.

Netflix, which has pioneered 4K Ultra HD streams and the ability to deliver HD streams reliably, is also very popular in homes with extra-large TVs with over 50in screens.

The latest data covers only the first three months of 2014, and the next round of the survey for April to June should reveal whether Lovefilm’s rebrand as Amazon Prime Instant Video has helped it to catch up.

Amazon has increased its focus on original commissions to counter high profile Netflix shows like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, but it’s also hampered by a refusal to launch services on any Android-based devices except for Kindle tablets.

While most surveys churned out to by companies cover a couple of thousand responses at best, BARB’s annual coverage of 53,000 British homes is considered a gold standard in revealing how Britons consume our entertainment.

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