Is Broadcast Dead? New Research Finds Brits Now Rarely Watch ‘Normal TV’ Due to Amazon and Netflix Video

November 3, 2016

Zuora and YouGov study shows that rapid uptake of video streaming services forces traditional broadcasters to adopt new monetization and growth strategies in the UK Subscription Economy

London, UK – 3 November 2016 Today, more than a quarter of British consumers (13.9 million or 27% of the adult population) subscribe to video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video, according to research published by YouGov and Zuora, Inc., the world’s leading provider of subscription commerce, billing and finance solutions. The rising popularity of these services has a huge effect on TV viewing habits, as almost half (6 million or 43%) of subscribers said they now rarely watch ‘normal TV’ (broadcast TV) anymore – that’s 12% of the UK adult population. Looking only at millennials aged 25-34 that subscribe, this number increases to almost two thirds (58%) of subscribers.

The UK-wide study, conducted for Zuora by YouGov, demonstrates the rising preference among UK consumers to pay a recurring fee for ongoing access to video on-demand content, as opposed to buying discs or large channel bundles. This trend is especially evident among 16-24 year olds, as nearly twice as many subscribe to video streaming services as they do to cable or satellite services (44% vs. 26%). In contrast, it is the other way around for 45-54 year olds (23% vs. 49%), showing that the video streaming trend has yet to catch on with the older generation.

Netflix is by far the most popular video streaming service in the UK with 12.4 million subscribers (24% of the UK adult population), followed by Sky Go (7.2 million or 14%), Amazon Video (6.7 million or 13%) and Now TV (3.1 million or 6%). On average, UK subscribers spend £17.53 per month on video streaming services, which may suggest that many sign up to multiple services simultaneously due to a lack of price and content options which would suit subscribers’ more individual viewing needs.

However, this number is, at least momentarily, still dwarfed by the average monthly spend of £60.83 on cable or satellite services, showing that the likes of Sky or Virgin still charge a flat fee for large channel bundles, as opposed to offering multiple, more tailored content packages at different price points.

The research also found that almost one third of Brits who subscribe to video streaming services (4 million or 30%) don’t plan to ever buy a DVD or BluRay again. This consumption shift, from products to subscription services, has far-reaching implications on our daily lives.

Almost two thirds of subscribers (59%) said the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video and Now TV have become an integral part of their lives. When asked about the benefits of video streaming, Brits overwhelmingly cited the ability to enjoy films, shows and series in a way that suits them (81%), discover new content suited to their taste (75%), and stream video on multiple devices (56%).

As video streaming services rise in popularity among consumers, they reap huge revenue benefits, but subscription business models also allow them to enter a direct relationship with their customers. Millions of plays a day, including when you pause, rewind and fast forward; as well as user ratings, searches, geolocation data, viewing times, device information and social media feedback – all paint a very clear picture of what viewers like to watch. This helps streaming services assess the viability of their content and membership strategy, and price and package services to sign up even more subscribers.

However, video isn’t the only industry in the Subscription Economy® in which consumers see the benefits of subscribing as opposed to buying products outright. Brits also subscribe to media publications (17% of the adult population), software and online storage (15%), financial services (12%), music streaming like Spotify and Apple Music (10%) and food and drink services (5%).

Overall, the Zuora® report, A Nation Subscribed: 2016 State of the UK Subscription Economy, found that 40.2 million Brits (78% of the adult population) are now subscribing to at least one product or service. As the notion of paying regular fees for curated access to goods and services becomes mainstream across all age groups, British subscribers now spend on average 12% of their disposable income on subscription services.

You can find out more about the Subscription Economy at Zuora’s annual Subscribed UK event, taking place on 15th November 2016 in London. Hear first-hand from start-ups and enterprises such as British Gas, Sage or Symantec about how they are mastering the consumption shift from products to subscriptions. Register here for your free ticket.

Comments on the news:

  • Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora: “The popularity of video streaming services in the UK seems to be unabated as the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime have changed the way we consume content forever. The heat is on for streaming providers to sign up as many hungry UK viewers as they can, and the winner in this race will be the company that not only delivers the most compelling content, but also the right price packages that meet each subscriber’s individual expectations.”
  • Leah B., 19, Lincolnshire (subscriber to a video-streaming service): “Buying and owning products isn’t that important to me. I just want the value in what they deliver, rather than the item itself. For example, once I’ve read a book I don’t keep it, I’ll pass it on to friends or donate it to charity. Otherwise it would just be gathering dust sitting on the shelf. Similarly, it’s much more convenient to just stream movies online than buying DVDs, as I get access to the same experience but without the physical product. It’s perfect for what I want! I’m also in the process of moving into my own place where there will be little space and storage options, so I need to be very smart about what products I keep and what I don’t.”
  • Consumer Psychologist Kate Nightingale: “Ownership is a physical and psychological extension and expression of our identity. If we didn’t own anything, we would feel like we don’t exist. Materialism has however risen to an unhealthy level, especially in the Western world. Consumers therefore started to look for fulfilment and identity expression via experiences and things they believe in rather than physical products. The growing need for individuality additionally generates a requirement for personalised and authentic experiences and services. Renting and subscription-based companies deliver consumers precisely that: personalised, authentic, fulfilling, and individual experiences.”

Additional Resources

Go to for the full UK Subscription Report, including data on the popularity of specific subscription services available in the UK.



About YouGov

YouGov is an international market research firm, headquartered in the UK. With over 3.3 million people participating in their panels to produce the largest daily updated record of people’s habits and opinions in existence, it is the most quoted source in the UK. It was founded in 2000, and now employs 591 people worldwide.

About the Research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,115 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27/04/16 – 04/05/16. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 16+).

All population figures are based the most recent ONS statistics, which cites a total UK adult population (aged 16 and over) of 51.5 million people.