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Consumers watching 170 million extra hours of streaming services a week

  • Consumers watching an extra 170 million hours a week of streaming services compared to before lockdown

  • Nearly half of people streaming more TV and films, with average household viewing doubling to 17 hours a week

  • Disney+ launched last month, joining Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW TV in the increasingly competitive market

  • One in ten (9%) consumers plan to pay for extra streaming services, with households set to spend £44 million extra a month on subscriptions

  • Parents say their children will watch an extra seven hours of streaming TV and films every week compared to their current viewing habits

  • Uswitch.com offers viewers a channel checker tool to help choose the best service for their needs.

Stay-at-home consumers are watching 170 million extra hours of online TV content a week, according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

Nearly half (47%) said they were watching a higher proportion of streamed TV and films, with most people watching double the amount they usually do.

Last month viewers got a new major player in the UK streaming market with the much anticipated Disney+ launching to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW TV in the battle for UK eyeballs. 

Prior to lockdown, adults watched an average of six hours of online TV and films per week, while parents say their children usually viewed five hours a week

Consumers said they and their children will stream an extra seven hours of TV and films a week in the coming months.

Almost one in ten streaming fans (9.2%) plan to pay for additional streaming services, with users now spending £15.30 a month on subscriptions, up from £12.50 in October 2019. This means that UK households are spending an extra £44 million a month on streaming services compared to October.

BBC iPlayer is currently the most popular service in the UK, watched by half (51%) of people, closely followed by Netflix with 49% of consumers. However, the BBC and ITV’s BritBox has struggled to make an impact since launch last year, with just 1% of households subscribing to the service.

Table: Streaming services and their popularity

Uswitch.com is helping consumers decide which services to subscribe to with its exclusive web-based tool. The guide lets TV fans select which programmes they are most keen to watch, then recommends which services to subscribe to for the best value.

Nick Baker, streaming expert at Uswitch, says: “Streaming is proving to be an increasingly popular way for people of all ages to watch TV and films. 

“There’s a huge variety of services on offer now, at prices to suit all budgets, with content from children’s favourites on Disney+ to British classics on BritBox. 

“With such a wide range of options now available, it can be a little confusing to know which services are offering which shows, so it is worth taking some time to work out which one is right for you. If you aren’t sure, you can make use of the free trials many of these services offer, but remember that signing up for a new subscription does not mean you are committed for life. 

“Try switching between streaming services to save money, and once you’ve seen the shows and films you want to watch, cancel your subscription. You shouldn’t need to be signed up to all streaming services at the same time.

“If you do sign up for a free trial, make a note in your diary for when it runs out, otherwise you could forget to cancel and find yourself paying a monthly subscription for a service you never use. 

“For those unsure which services they need, hop onto Uswitch.com and click the shows you want to watch. It will then tell you the services you need to sign up to.”

Find out how you could save nearly £1,000 a year with Uswitch here.


Rory Stoves
Phone: 020 3872 5613
Email: rory.stoves@uswitch.com
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes to editors

Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,004 UK adults from the 17th to 19th March 2020. Results have been weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria

  1. Respondents who said they would watch more streaming TV and film were asked ‘How many extra hours of streamed TV and films do you expect the following people to watch each week in April, in comparison to the previously normal amount?’ The average response from 942 respondents was 6.9 hours. 942/2004 = 47%. 47% x 52,403,344 UK adults x 6.9 hours = 169.97 million extra hours a week.

  2. Respondents were asked ‘Do you expect you and your family to use streaming services more or less in the coming weeks?’ 47% said they would watch more.

  3. Respondents were asked ‘How many extra hours of streamed TV and films do you expect the following people to watch each week in April, in comparison to the previously normal amount?’ The average for those who said they would watch more was 6.9 hours. The average for children under 18 was 7.1 hours. 

  4. Respondents were asked ‘Will you be signing up to or using any additional streaming services?’ 9% said ‘Yes’.12% of men said ‘Yes’, compared to 6% of women. 16% of 18-34 said ‘Yes’, compared to 12% of 35-54yr-olds, and 2% of over-55s.

  1. Respondents who said they use streaming services were asked ‘How much do you currently spend on streaming services each month?’ The average amount for those who pay for streaming services was £15.30 a month. 1,145 respondents pay for their streaming services. This is 1,145 / 2004 = 57.1% of consumers. These people are paying an extra £2.80 a month for streaming compared to October 2019. Assuming 57.1% of households pay for streaming, this is 57.1% x 27.6 million households = 15.77 million households using paid-for streaming. 15.77 million x £2.80 extra a month = £44.15 million extra a month. 

  2. Respondents were asked ‘How many hours of streamed TV and films do the following people currently watch each week?’ The average figure for ‘myself’ was 6.3 hours. The average figure for ‘children under 18’ was 5.3 hours.

  3. Office for National Statistics. Families and Households in the UK

  4. Respondents were asked ‘Which streaming services do you currently use?’ 51% answered BBC iPlayer. 49% said Netflix. 35% said Amazon Prime. 33% said ITV Hub, 1% said Britbox

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