A BARB white paper released this month found that 11.6m homes in the UK have at least one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or NOW TV – a relatively significant 22% increase year-on-year. With 16-34 Adults impacts down 15% YoY on linear television during this period, it seems younger audiences are binging on box sets.

Recent figures revealed that Netflix in particular gained 8.8m new subscribers globally in Q4 of 2018. Meanwhile the number of UK homes with two or more subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services has risen by 40% from 2.8m to just under 4m in the past year (BARB).

This has been aided by the fact that from November 2018, Netflix was made available to Sky Q customers through their box, which leads us to believe we may see a bump in the amount of unidentified viewing in Sky homes once the latest data is released.

This act of allegiance between Sky and Netflix proves that the broadcaster has acknowledged the need to accommodate rather than fight the subscription giant – as evidenced by the huge increase in co-production deals in recent years.

We know that those aged 16-24 are 51% more likely than the UK average to have access to a subscription VOD service however among all adults, broadcast television still provides the highest consumption of UK media.  The platform sees an average consumption of 3.5 hours per day compared to just 0.5 hours per day on SVOD services (IPA Touchpoints 2018).

For big one-off marquee event television moments coming this year – the likes of the Rugby and Cricket World Cups, the final series of Game of Thrones and the return of Ant on Britain’s Got Talent – linear television will retain its share of viewers.

However with the popularity of recent content such as Bird Box, the interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch movie and the Fyre documentary following the failed music festival, Netflix is leading the way for entertaining content and in generating buzz around new releases. Bird Box in particular was turned into an almost ubiquitous meme, and was reportedly watched by 80m households in its first four weeks of release (BBC News).

It’s the light television viewers and the younger audiences whose eyes are on accessible box sets, and Netflix is setting the agenda for big budget, high-quality entertainment. Broadcasters will need to continue investing heavily in content to compete.