One in two Brits have multiple paid video streaming services; trend likely to continue post pandemic

Rishad Dsouza
June 07, 2021, 6:38 AM UTC

Online video streaming platforms experienced a surge in popularity during the pandemic as several other forms of entertainment became either inaccessible or unsafe due to the risk of infection. But will this uptick in popularity continue once restrictions are entirely lifted and the risks of COVID-19 decline?

To understand how online streaming habits might change in the near future, YouGov Direct conducted a study in Great Britain. The data reveals that about seven in ten Britons are currently subscribed to at least one paid online video streaming service (72%). Roughly a quarter (26%) of the adult British population have two paid video streaming subscriptions, while one in six (17%) have three. Overall, almost half of Brits (49%) have two or more or paid-for video services.

Among these subscribers, two-thirds say they have no intention of turning their backs on any of their paid streaming services in the next three months (67%). Just 18% of those with paid subscriptions say they’re looking to cancel one or more services, while a similar share of consumers isn’t sure (15%).

But paying for services is one thing - using them is another altogether. So what’s even more encouraging for paid streaming services is that over three-quarters of Brits holding paid streaming subscriptions are inclined to continue present levels of content consumption (76%). Moreover, one in ten existing subscribers say they will watch more online content in the next three months (10%).

Even with the promising numbers, though, it is pertinent for marketers of streaming platforms to stay on top of the game, continuously appealing to both existing customers and potential subscribers. As the market for paid streaming services continues to get more competitive, can brands look at price reduction as a strategy to attract and maintain a strong audience? Our data reveals that one-third of British adults will consider the option of paying a lower fee in exchange for seeing more adverts (34%).

But as new avenues of entertainment open up, competition for paid video streaming brands is no longer limited to what’s on TV. They must jostle for consumer attention with a host of other activities that are now becoming more accessible as the pandemic retreats. We take a peek at the activities that will demand the most attention among those who say they will view less streaming content in the next three months.

A half of these consumers say they will spend more time on outdoor experiences such as gardening (50%). Two-fifths indicate that they will take to physical activity in the time freed up from watching less paid video content (38%). Eating in restaurants (44%) and drinking in bars (44%) are also high on the list of activities that are set to eat into the time spent on online streaming consumption.

Yet, by and large, the threats facing paid video streaming brands appear to be manageable, at least in the near term. Much like in the US, a majority of Brits are keen to not only stay loyal to their streaming subscriptions but also remain consistent in the time they spend watching content on paid online services.

Methodology: YouGov polled 1,200 GB adults online between June 1, 2021 at 9:49 PM BST and June 2, 2021 at 8:59 am BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. Results are nationally representative of adults in Great Britain. The margin of error is 4.8% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.