UK SVOD revenues up by 76%

UK subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) revenues grew by 76% to reach $186.7m (£112m) in 2013, according to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2014. 

The increase appears to be due to the growing popularity of SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. “The subscription model saw the steepest growth…a possible indication that online streaming services are gaining traction in the UK market,” the report said.

The report also found that laptops continue to be the most popular VOD-enabled devices in the UK, although there has been an increase in the take-up of DVRs and smart TVs.

DVR take-up has increased by 13% since 2012 to 60% of all respondents, with some of the growth attributed to the launch of BT and TalkTalk-subsidised YouView boxes in mid-2012. Smart TV take-up increased by 5% to 11% of respondents.

The UK has seen a proliferation of VOD services in recent years, with Netflix entering the market in 2012 and Wuaki.TV last year. Amazon bought out local player LoveFilm in early 2011, while supermarket chain Tesco acquired a stake in Blink Box a few months later. Pay-TV operators Sky and Virgin Media also operate VOD services, while all the major free-to-air broadcasters offer catch-up TV.

Netflix and Amazon have also started commissioning UK-produced content; Netflix is investing in The Crown, about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, while Amazon has commissioned a third series of Ripper Street, which was previously commissioned by the BBC.

The report also found that 50% of UK adults claim to have used a VOD service within the previous 12 months, an increase of 23% in the three years to the second half of 2013. However, the amount of time spent watching catch-up, free and paid VOD services still only accounts for 8% of all viewing time among UK adults, across all devices.