The demand for on demand TV has continued to rise over recent years. Netflix currently has over 139 million subscribers, Amazon Prime has more than 100 million users and the past couple of years has seen the likes of Apple, Disney and Sky launch their own streaming services. Now however, the UK is set to get its own streaming platform, Britbox.
The service is the joint vision of the BBC and ITV and promises to provide the biggest collection of British TV content ever assembled in one place, with must loved TV classics along with brand new content. Britbox is set to launch later this year and the broadcasters have confirmed the service will not affect their current catch up platforms.
The idea of watching live TV for some has become something of a rarity, therefore it’s unsurprising that UK broadcasters are nervous about the market power of Amazon and Netflix. More than 12 million households are signed up to at least one and traditional TV broadcasters are having to compete for viewers in an increasingly fragmented landscape. According to Ofcom the amount of time spent watching live TV has continued to decline. In 2017 the average amount of time spent watching broadcast television per day was 3 hours 23 minutes, down nine minutes from 2016 and down 38 minutes since 2012. Unsurprisingly, amongst viewers aged between 16 and 34, the declines were steeper and over 65’s watched four times as much broadcast television as children in 2017.
Experts are divided over the likely success of the new service. BritBox will be facing established competitor Netflix, who has been relishing in a golden period as the most popular streaming service on offer. Netflix boasts strong films, box sets such as Friends and Brooklyn Nine Nine and of course it has its own content including Stranger Things and House of Cards. Interestingly however, research commissioned by ITV shows that desire for UK-produced content is high, with 43% of homes interested in subscribing to a new service that features British shows, suggesting Britbox has the opportunity to fill a gap within the industry.
As more and more competitors enter the market, individuals are becoming reluctant to pay for every service available. However, much to the annoyance of most people you’re unable to find everything you want in one place. With this in mind, is it possible we’ll see a mass consolidation of services or will platforms continue to keep things separate in a bid to get us to buy into each platform? Only time will tell. In the meantime however, I’m going to binge watch Game of Thrones.