The U.K. streaming video market showed signs of growth in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30. Between July – September, the number of British households with at least one paid video streaming subscription service increased by 500,000 from the second quarter, ended June 30, according to new data by London-based Kantar.
About 19.8 million British households have at least one paid video streaming service, up from 19.3 million the previous quarter. Netflix claimed the Top 3 most streamed titles in the quarter: “The Witcher,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Virgin River”. In September, mini-series “Ahsoka” on Disney+ claimed the No. 2 spot.
Kantar claims “£1.99 for 3 months” promotional pricing by Disney+ helped drive U.K. subscriber growth, generating 22% of all new subs. Disney roughly tripled its rate of acquisition in September, with those signing up overwhelmingly citing the price driven promotion as their key driver.
There was also a major uplift in new subscribers who recalled seeing a social or online ad campaign promoted by Disney+ during September, indicating a major marketing success and return on investment. The long-term success of the campaign will come down to how many new subscribers are retained once the price reverts to normal, which is expected in the run up to the Christmas period.
Separately, Apple TV+ recorded its highest-ever recorded quarterly acquisition share at 15% share. Discovery+ and Paramount+ continued to see rapid subscriber growth in Q3, with signs consumers are increasingly looking beyond the larger players for new content.
New hit series such as “Hijack” and familiar favorites such as “Ted Lasso” continue to attract significant numbers of signups – but at the same time churn rates remain high, according to Kantar. Indeed, 38% of “new” subs in the quarter were previous subscribers, which is higher than key competitors.
One of the biggest challenges for Apple is turning those viewers who join to watch a specific series into long-term subscribers. Subscribers are consistently impressed with the quality of Apple’s shows, but they still don’t yet have the back catalog to sustain viewing once those hero shows have been watched, according to Kantar. It’s why shows like Friends and The Office continue to hold such value, as subscribers are often happy to fall back on familiar content while waiting for the next big thing.
Meanwhile, Netflix and Prime Video saw subscriber counts remain relatively, highlighting their pressing need to generate additional revenue from launched and pending ad-supported tier.
FAST services are seeing rapid growth across Britain with 16% of households already accessing these types of services on a regular basis.
“FAST services are igniting a revolution across the U.K., where 16% of households are already hooked on these emerging platforms,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Worldpanel Division, Kantar, said in a statement.
Sunnebo contends that the debut of ad-supported service Freely in the U.K. promises a more level playing field, empowering traditional broadcasters to vie for their share of streaming advertising revenue.
While the streaming giants venture into uncharted territories experimenting with ad-tier and subscription models, a fresh contender has entered the arena, poised to transform the U.K. streaming landscape and challenge the dominance of the U.S.-based services,” Sunnebo said.