The SVOD Report from BARB provides an indication of the growth of subscription video services in the United Kingdom in 2018. Half of individuals in television homes across the country have access to Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV. Almost a fifth of television usage is not related to viewing channels or programmes measured by BARB. There is a close correlation with the rise in subscriptions to online video services.

BARB notes that unmatched viewing, where the television set was used for viewing something other than a reported channel or on-demand service, increased to 19% of all television set activity in the twelve months to September 2018, up from 16% the previous year. That represents an average rise from 40 to 46 minutes a day. Back in 2014, unidentified viewing was under 30 minutes a day.

Unidentified viewing increases at the weekend compared to weekdays. It is 21% higher on a Saturday or 23% higher on a Sunday, compared to total television viewing, which is up 5% or 12%.

That unidentified viewing could include programmes viewed more than 28 days after transmission, or watching programming on services that are not tracked by BARB, including YouTube and services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It could also include using the television for games and other activities.

Among adults that report using subscription services at least weekly, unidentified viewing is higher, at around 70 minutes a day.

There is a close correlation with the rise in unidentified viewing as surveyed by BARB and the number of homes with such services as measured by its quarterly establishment survey.

BARB recorded that 11.64 million homes in the United Kingdom had at least one of Netflix, Amazon Prime TV or Now TV in the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 22% on the previous year. That represents over 40% of television households in the country, and just under half of individuals in television homes.

BARB SVOD household penetration 2014-2018 Q3

There were 9.70 million homes in the United Kingdom that reported they had access to Netflix, compared to 4.91 million for Amazon and 1.6 million for Now TV.

That equates to 32.32 million individuals for at least one service, of which 27.11 million had Netflix, 13.79 million had Amazon and 4.58 million had Now TV.

Having grown steadily between 2014 and 2018, the increase in the number of homes with subscription online video services appears to have slowed in the middle of 2018.

However, the overall trend has been an increase in television usage that is not recognised by BARB.

Meanwhile, Netflix, Amazon and Now TV can measure their viewing with some accuracy.