Kantar: Amazon Prime Video with ads a turn-off for UK consumers

Amazon Prime Video has had the hardest fall among SVOD streamers introducing ads in the UK market, according to data from Kantar.

Unlike other streamers, Amazon made its with-ads offering the default and asked users to pay more to avoid ads, a strategy that appears to have been unwelcome to UK subs

According to Kantar, Prime Video is the streaming service most impacted by seasonality, often seeing a drop in Q1 following a peak in Q4. However, Q1 this year was particularly tough.

Amazon introduced ads to its video streaming service at the end of January, requiring existing subscribers to pay an additional £2.99/month to remain ad free.

According to Kantar hundreds of thousands of subscribers ditched the service immediately. Prime Video’s share of new subscribers, total number of subscribers and proportion of Prime users engaging with Prime Video all fell significantly in the first quarter of 2024. Subscriber advocacy, as measured by Net Promoter Score, was the lowest it’s been in over three years, while churn rate as measured in January 2024 was the highest for Prime Video measured by the Kantar study since it began in 2020.

Amazon Prime Video rejected Kantar’s findings.

“The findings of this research are incorrect. Prime membership continues to grow in the UK, with Q1 2024 membership up year-on-year and strong customer retention. Prime Video in the UK continues to see high customer engagement, with the number of people streaming growing year-on-year. The start of 2024 has been one of Prime Video’s strongest slates ever, with Fallout, Road House, The Grand Tour, and titles such as Saltburn and Reacher from the end of 2023 continuing to acquire new customers and delight existing ones,” the streamer said in a statement provided to DTVE.

Dominic Sunnebo

Other data from Kantar include that AppleTV+ held onto its top spot in terms of share of new UK SVOD subscriptions in Q1 of 2024 with 16% share, benefiting from titles including Slow Horses and Ted Lasso alongside WW2 series Masters of The Air accounted for 12% of new title driven subscriptions.

Disney+ took second spot in share of new subscriptions with historical drama Shogun performing strongly.

However, according to Kantar, Netflix remains the go-to destination for inspiration on what to watch next, as 52% of all British SVOD subscribers search Netflix first for new content.

Some 19.9 million British households have at least one paid video streaming service in their household, virtually flat vs. the previous quarter (Q4’23)

“In the first quarter of 2024, we’ve seen stark contrasts in strategy and subscriber response among major players. Prime Video, for example, faced significant challenges as it introduced an ad-supported tier, resulting in notable subscriber churn and dissatisfaction. In contrast, AppleTV+ has successfully held onto its leadership in new subscriptions, driven by compelling content and an expanded demographic reach. Netflix continues to excel as the first port of call for British consumers seeking new and engaging content, with strong subscriber retention and growth. These trends underscore the critical importance of understanding consumer preferences and the impact of service changes on subscriber behaviour and market positioning,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Insights Director at Kantar Worldpanel.

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