Pay TV in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts
Television programs are one of the UK's most lucrative cultural exports, with series like "Doctor Who" or "Downton Abbey" being enjoyed by millions of fans across the globe. But even though there is no question regarding the quality of the offerings, it is also true that the pay TV industry in the United Kingdom is facing continuous challenges. Despite remaining one of the largest pay TV markets worldwide, the UK has seen a steady drop in revenue figures and audience numbers in the past few years. Forecasts suggest that the UK's number of pay TV subscribers will drop by over one million within the next five years, reaching an estimated 13 million by the end of 2027. A similar downward trend can also be spotted across most of Europe's pay TV landscape, as new and exciting video entertainment options and online streaming alternatives enter the market each year.
Who are the pay TV market leaders in the UK?
Data on the top TV broadcasters in the UK revealed that Sky was among the leading subscription-based providers based on audience share in 2020. The Comcast-owned broadcaster and telecommunications company has been a staple of the UK's media scene for over two decades, and in 2021, Sky's revenue reached an all-time high of 16.46 billion British pounds. In addition to drawing millions of viewers across the UK, Sky also continues to make its mark on other European television markets, including Ireland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. One of the main appeals of the service is its range of sports and entertainment packages, which offer anything from the latest blockbusters to Formula 1 and football matches live and on-demand. In addition to that, Sky maintains exclusive rights to HBO programs in the UK and other European countries.
VOD alternatives: on-demand and on the pulse of time
The cord-cutting wave continues to sweep through the UK and various other European markets. Today's digitally savvy audiences no longer want to be tied to fixed broadcast schedules or expensive contracts, and while some viewers opt to supplement their pay TV bundles, others cancel their subscriptions altogether. Data showed that non-linear streaming alternatives such as Netflix have become particularly popular with UK audiences as they offer unlimited video content and exclusive releases around the clock. Between 2014 and 2021, the number of Netflix households in the UK has increased more than fourfold, now standing at just below 17 million. Amazon Prime Video also reported a massive boost in subscriber numbers in 2021, while Disney+, one of the newest additions to the streaming scene, is also amassing millions of new account holders each year. Meanwhile, TV broadcasters are also starting to offer their content on-demand to retain audiences and remain somewhat competitive.
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