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Digital Video Services Gaining Traction in the UK

More UK consumers watching more digital video

March 19, 2014 | Advertising & Marketing | Video

Digital video streaming services are starting to take hold in the UK. While physical video sales dropped in 2013, digital video saw a rise of over 40%. Of course, sales only tell part of the video streaming story, with the UK’s public broadcaster, the BBC, providing a well-stocked and incredibly well-received on-demand streaming service—the iPlayer. Meanwhile, the number of UK consumers streaming video from YouTube continues to rise.

While the BBC iPlayer service and YouTube remain the most popular video streaming sites in the UK, dedicated subscription service providers continue to see steady growth in engagement. According to February 2014 data from RBC, 22% of UK internet users had visited the Netflix service in the previous 12 months, up from just 6% who had done so in February 2013. Other subscription services, such as Amazon LOVEFiLM Instant and Sky Go, also saw good gains, if not quite as spectacular.

Sites that UK Internet Users Have Used to Watch Movies or TV Shows, Feb 2013-Feb 2014 (% of respondents)

One interesting trend saw the iPlayer’s dominance reigned in during the year. Proportionally, it saw nearly twice as many visitors in February 2013 than its closest competitor, YouTube. By February 2014, the iPlayer’s level of engagement seemed to have leveled out, while YouTube continued to see rapid gains, closing the gap as a result.

But whatever the minutiae, the basic fact is that more UK consumers are frequenting these digital video sites. eMarketer’s latest digital video viewer numbers provide further evidence of this trend. In 2014, 56.6% of the entire UK population will watch digital video content at least once per month, up from 51.5% in 2012. And this trend will continue through 2018, when 62.9% will partake in this activity. The signs for streaming video service providers are good.


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