Prime Video secures an unexpected victory over rival Netflix

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Amazon’s Prime Video signed up 700,000 new subscribers across the UK in three months last year, with arch-nemesis Netflix only managing 70,000 new accounts in the same period. That stalling growth sees Netflix signing up a similar number of new subscribers as Apple TV+, NOW (formerly NOW TV) and BritBox, compared to the biggest movers in the space, like Disney+ and Prime Video. The disparity in growth – Prime Video managed to convince 10 times the number of new people to sign-up for its contract-free subscription service – could be because Netflix is close to saturation in Great Britain, according to data analytics company Kantar.

The firm, which is headquartered in London, conducted the research on new video on-demand subscribers in the three months up to December 2021. It showed that 17.1 million homes across the country – around 59 percent of all households – are now subscribers to one video streaming service or another. While 34 percent of subscriptions taken out in the last quarter of the 2021 were completely new to subscription services, stacked subscribers (those who subscribe to more than one service) were the biggest single driver of new subscriptions, accounting for a healthy 40 percent of the total.

When it comes to taking out a second streaming service, it seems Prime Video and Disney+ are the biggest winners, with Apple TV+, NOW, discovery+ and BritBox trailing behind in the latest figures. However, despite its huge growth in users, Prime Video struggled to make its mark on the top 10 most enjoyed titles across the UK. Its fantasy series, The Wheel Of Time, ranked in fifth place – its only spot on the league table. Meanwhile, Netflix secured the gold medal with Squid Game, with the Marvel spin-off series Hawkeye coming in second place, securing a silver medal for Disney+.

Research by Kantar suggests that, with around 43 percent of all households across the UK now watching content on Netflix, the Californian company is close to reaching saturation. During its study, it found the number of people who said they were considering or intending to take out a subscription to Netflix in the coming three months fell. Given that growth was already stalling last year, that’s not promising for the subscription service moving into 2022.

Kantar claims the majority of UK subscribers who want Netflix are already subscribed, and new headline-grabbing shows and films are not enough to hook more people in. Unlike Netflix, Prime Video has expanded into live sports coverage, with exclusive rights to Premier League matches, international rugby and the US Open.

In the United States, Netflix has started to warn subscribers about an incoming price rise to help fund its vast budgets for new boxsets, documentaries and blockbusters. Netflix has already pledged to spend $17 billion on new content for its subscribers in 2022.

Amazon is believed to splash $10 billion on new shows this year, with its feverishly-anticipated Lord Of The Rings series – due to launch in September – widely tipped to be the most expensive show ever made. Amazon paid $250 million for the rights, before pouring $465 million into the first of five planned seasons of the show, which is set before the events of the Academy Award-winning trilogy.

Disney+ has revealed plans to spend $33 billion on new content in 2022, marking an $8 billion rise from the previous year. That will result in roughly 60 unscripted series, 30 comedy series, and 25 new drama shows for the subscription service.

Summarising the research, Global Insight Director at Kantar, Dominic Sunnebo said: “There are a number of growth options available to Netflix, but right now, it’s not employing any of them to great effect across Britain. 2022 is therefore going to be critical to its growth strategy. Whichever option it chooses will create risks, but they will be needed to drive growth in this maturing market.”

Published at Thu, 27 Jan 2022 07:40:00 +0000

Prime Video secures an unexpected victory over rival Netflix

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