Just over two thirds of homes in the United Kingdom had access to an online video subscription service at the end of 2022. However, the number fell by 0.6% from 19.54 million homes at the end of the third quarter to 19.42 million at the end of the year, which is 67.7% of households. It appears that a level of saturation may have been reached, although some services are continuing to gain subscribers.
The numbers come from the quarterly establishment survey commissioned by the audience research organisation BARB.
Adoption of online video subscription services had risen steadily in recent years and continued during the coronavirus restrictions, although survey data was not collected during that period.
The figures suggest that the adoption of Netflix and Amazon has plateaued if not peaked, while Disney+ continues to gain ground.
Disney+ and Apple TV+ both saw quarterly gains in subscribers.
7.28 million homes had access to Disney+ at the end of 2022, an increase of +4.3% from 6.98 million in three months.
1.69 million homes had access to Apple TV+, up +21% on 1.40 million at the end of the third quarter, but only slightly up on the 1.61 million it had at the end of the second quarter.
Amazon Prime Video nudged up slightly by 0.1% to 13.12 million homes, but that was down on the 13.35 million it had at the end of the first quarter.
Netflix and NOW saw quarterly drops in the number of homes in the United Kingdom with access to their services.
17.15 million homes had access to Netflix, down -0.7% from 17.27 million the previous quarter.
1.88 million homes had access to NOW, a decline of -7.6% from 2.04 million three months before.
Amid greater competition, the overall number of homes with access to an online video subscription service has flattened off at just over two thirds of homes.
The definition of access to a subscription service is significant. Some homes may be sharing accounts, so the number of subscriptions may be slightly lower.
Time will tell whether the introduction of a lower price point tier for a Netflix subscription with advertising, or a planned crackdown on account sharing, will see an overall increase in adoption.
It may be that two out of three homes represents a saturation point for subscription services, given the range and quality of free services that are also available.
BARB recently revealed the most-watched online video subscription service titles of 2022. This was led by Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix, watched by 6.7 million people in the seven days since it launched on December 23. Turning Red on Disney+ with 3.6 million viewers and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime with 3.2 million viewers also both feature in the top 20.
No subscription video title made it into the most-watched titles across all channels and services in 2022. This was topped by viewing of the Queen’s Funeral Service, with 26.5 million viewers across multiple channels.