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MIDiA’s UK video consumer deep dive Q2 2020 report

Cover image for MIDiA’s UK video consumer deep dive Q2 2020 report
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by Tim Mulligan

MIDiA Research has published its Q2 2020 UK Video Consumer Deep Dive report, with an update on where the leading streaming services are and how they have adapted to the ongoing disruption wrought by COVID-19. With UK society slowly moving into the post-lockdown era, the lockdown-driven streaming bump of Q1 is now pitted against the pent-up real-life demands of consumers keen to return to normality. 

The potential easing of self-isolation is, however, coming up against the budget-constraining impacts of a national economy moving into a recession of uncertain duration. The result is a streaming landscape at an inflection point, permanently impacted by the lockdown entertainment windfall – yet now having to adapt to the more cautious purchasing behaviour of consumers eager for premium video content, but constrained in their discretionary spending. 

UK video consumption remains dominated by the two leading streaming alternatives of subscription video leader Netflix and ad-supported hegemon YouTube. The 15 hours of increased entertainment time which lockdown freed up for UK consumers has disproportionately benefited the ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) model over the subscription video on demand (SVOD) model, as Netflix only gets the opportunity to charge its consumers once per month, whereas YouTube can generate revenue every time consumers engage with its predominately ad-supported service. Add to this the perceived need for consumers to constrain spending commitments at a time of economic uncertainty, and AVOD engagement is set to gain at the expense of SVOD. 

While the direct-to-consumer (D2C) ‘Big Bang’ moment of 2019-2020 is only partially impacting the UK (only Apple TV+ and Disney+ are currently active in the UK video market) Comcast’s Peacock and AT&T’s HBO Max are looking at the UK as logical beachhead for global expansion beyond North America. The current momentum behind AVOD is likely to favour AVOD/SVOD hybrid Peacock over HBO Max when they take the decision to launch in the UK.

The consistent performance of catch-up TV in the UK, which remains significantly larger than in other English-speaking markets and saw a rise in weekly active use in Q2, is another localised yet real impediment to the D2C ambitions of the US-based media and communications majors. However, the familiarity of UK consumers with catch-up has created a digitally-savvy constituency for on-demand, which zeitgeisty and heavily backed D2C services can build upon when considering market-entry timings.

For the detailed consumer data, trend analysis and implication analysis behind UK Q2 video consumption, MIDiA Research clients can access the report and accompanying assets directly here. To find out how to become a MIDiA Research client click here.

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