The UK TV Streaming Market: 2021 and Beyond 

As we look ahead into the New Year, the UK, like the rest of the world, has seen an acceleration of trends that have long been in the making. The streaming market has grown significantly as more consumers opt for streaming instead of traditional pay TV.  

In the UK, the pivotal point of 2020 was the lockdown. For the UK TV streaming market, that meant a surge in new TV streaming subscriptions – this past spring, 1.6 million households signed up for a new streaming service, according to research from Zen Internet.   

But just how much has the UK streaming market grown? Who are the major players in the industry? And how can advertisers connect with this audience?  

Right now, pay TV subscriptions continue to fall, while surging streaming subscriptions have driven more than half of all viewing hours in the UK to streaming. Streaming is also growing faster in Europe than the Americas, driven by high adoption rates of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and others.  

Let’s take a deeper look at the UK TV streaming market in 2021: 

Linear Television & Streaming

The biggest difference between streaming television and linear television is a choice between convenience and choice. The lack of flexibility and the increasing content libraries in subscription video on demand (SVOD) services has led to losses in pay TV viewership that have increased each year. That’s why advertisers have started to shift ad dollars from traditional TV to TV streaming.  

According to a report from BARB, the reach of pay TV subscriber base has shrunk at a growing rate over the past three years. This year, especially, has seen a significant drop in reach.

At the same time, there have been significant upticks in TV streaming behavior, especially this year as consumers have changed their viewing habits at a higher rate than ever before. 

According to research from SpotX, over 50% of total viewing hours in 2020 have been spent streaming, marking a milestone in the British streaming market.   

The report also found that, from 2018 to 2019, Europe saw higher TV streaming growth than the Americas, with TV streaming hours increasing by 83% in Europe.   

So what are UK streamers deciding to watch?   

Subscription video demand (SVOD) services, like Netflix, are most popular – BARB research showed that 60% of UK households are now subscribed to at least one SVOD service.  

Reaching streamers who watch SVOD can be tricky. The team at Schneider Electric UK, for example, knew that a lot of viewers ended up on SVOD services that didn’t often have ads. But by using an AVOD channel like The Roku Channel, which is free to watch and supported by ads, the team was able to connect with new audiences who were ordinarily hard to reach – 88% of the viewers they engaged had viewed SVOD services in the past 30 days 

TV Streaming: Ads, Evolved 

Since March 2020, 82% of UK consumers currently pay for video services and a third of those consumers have subscribed to at least one new subscription video service (SVOD) this year alone, according to consumer research from Grabyo. 

As we look ahead to the future of TV in the Streaming Decade, we expect that viewers will continue to adopt new streaming services. That’s going to have important implications for the ad experience as we know it, today and tomorrow.  

TV ads will get more personalised, while brands will develop new programmes to build awareness among specific audiences.  

The predominance of streaming means that advertisers shouldn’t just rethink TV strategy – they need to rethink their advertising strategy. A streamer-first marketing strategy guarantees that you’ll connect with audiences on the platforms and channels where they’re already spending the most time. With Roku Advertising, you can start from the biggest screen in the house and guarantee that your ads are shown across mobile and desktop, too.