As Netflix marks ten years of operation in the UK, a new report from media analyst Enders has found that the BBC still drew three times the viewership of Netflix on average.
Total UK viewing of Netflix was 7% in 2021, compared to 22% for the BBC. Approx 16.7M UK households subscribe to Netflix. Netflix has seen an increase in viewership of those aged 55+, but a slight decrease in viewers younger than that.
There are two things to keep in mind when you read that the BBC has 3x the viewership of Netflix.
There's the obvious, which is that the digital product that is Netflix skews younger in terms of adoption. 63.67 percent of people living in the UK fall into the 15-64 age group, so the UK isn't quite as senior-heavy as you might expect. But, certainly, the upper-end of that 15-64 year demo is quite a bit more dominant, so it makes sense that the BBC viewership still leads so significantly.
The other thing to note is the increased competition to Netflix that exists now. With the launch of Disney+ two years ago, actual competition from a streamer at a similar-ish scale is now in market. Enders reports that the number of subscribers to SVOD services that don’t have a Netflix or Sky subscription doubled last year to 2.2 million people.
All of this is interesting in light of BBC licence fees being such a talking point at the moment. With the cost of Netflix for the year being fairly comparable with the cost of a BBC licence, there are a lot of conversations about the value of each service comparatively. I would argue that the BBC isn't a like-for-like competitor and offers value beyond that of a general entertainment TV provider (in that it also offers radio, news, niche content, and emergency broadcasts).
The HALO trailer. Finally.
After a huge investment of money, years and years of development and eventual production, countless showrunners, and embarrassingly too-many networks, the trailer for the HALO TV series (based on the blockbuster video game franchise) has finally debuted.
And it looks okay. I'll check it out.
It debuts March 24 on Paramount+.
Meanwhile, Sony invest in Bungie
Sony has purchased video game studio Bungie in a deal worth $3.6 billion. Bungie is the studio that first developed the Halo video game franchise for then-owner Microsoft.
This is the latest in a series of recent acquisitions recently (publisher Take Two recently bought Zynga, Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard) and likely won't be the last we hear about in the coming months. Right now the industry has its biggest players looking to scale up and it won't just be what we consider to be video game companies buying up - watch to see whether Netflix, WarnerMedia, or Disney make a large-scale acquisition in the interactive gaming space.
Why the interest in gaming all of a sudden?
- The technology is getting to be increasingly similar, especially as video games embrace streaming more.
- In the quest to scale up and grow their large, globally dominant businesses, there are fewer and fewer traditional media companies on the market looking to get acquired
- It's where the real money is. Consider Sony. Right now it has the biggest movie in the world with the latest Spider-Man film. But its video game business is way more profitable than its movie business. We're talking $762 million vs $3.1 billion.
Keep 'em keen
A new report from research firm Antenna has found that subscribers to streaming services for big release events like Hamilton (Disney+), Wonder Woman 1984 (HBO Max), and Greyhound (Apple TV+) don't stick around for more than six months. This isn't really news to anyone paying attention to the streaming space. It is because of this churn and customers willingness to hit cancel on their monthly payments that streaming platforms need to keep on serving up buzzy, event-like content. Hence the big stars and reliance on known IP. Next time you're wondering why there is yet another Marvel or Star Trek TV show, know that it is because the streamers have identified that these are the properties that will keep a credit card active on the platform.
A new soap for BBC Three
With the upcoming relaunch of UK youth broadcast channel BBC Three, channel boss Fiona Campbell has been talking up potential moves for the channel going forward. One of the ideas she mooted: a new soap focused on a modern Britain.
"I think [a BBC Three soap] would be a great opportunity to showcase modern Britain, somewhere very specific in modern Britain," she said. "You know, it could be Derry, or Belfast, it could be Aberdeen, it could be Newcastle. I'd want to put it somewhere like that and then showcase a locality like that in all its glory."
A genuine question: what is the appetite for a daily soap aimed at younger viewers aged 30 and under? This is a generation who are largely viewing shows on demand and soap operas with such a large volume of constant programming doesn't play well on demand (episodes tend to bank up when life gets in the way of viewers watching their favourite shows).
Of course, it is worth noting that Campbell never said it would be daily.
And speaking of BBC3, the channel has announced one of its relaunch titles will be an original movie about young warehouse workers, Life and Death in the Warehouse.
In the “customer-fixated” culture of these centers, “idle time” (toilet breaks and conversations) and “pick” or “aspirational” rates (number of items picked per hour) are constantly measured with 24-hour surveillance, which can lead to disciplinary hearings and ruthless “off-boarding” (sacking). In a desperate attempt to keep her new job, Megan (Edwards) presses pregnant Alys (Friar) to get her “pick rate” up, putting Alys and her baby at risk.
- Guest stars in the new season of Party Down: Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson Williams, James Marsden and Zoë Chao. Read: Deadline
- Jennifer Beals is set to recur in Law & Order: Organized Crime. Read: Deadline
- A TV series based on early 00s video game American McGee’s Alice is in the works. Read: THR
- A young cast of actors I don't know and Jackie Hoffman are set to lead the Grease prequel series Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies. Read: Variety
Pretzel and The Puppies debuts on Apple TV+ Feb 11.
Back To 15 debuts on Netflix Feb 25.
Catching Killers returns to Netflix for season 2 soon.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre debuts Feb 18 on Netflix.
Watch as young people are hunted by a 70+ year-old Leatherface? Maybe keen off his lawn next time, kids.
That's it for today. More newsletter tomorrow.