In their Prime: Amazon Prime Video Outpaces Netflix Growth after Premier League Debut

In their Prime: Amazon Prime Video Outpaces Netflix Growth after Premier League Debut

Subscriber numbers up 35% in fourth quarter, giving Amazon its best year since launch

Amazon’s Premier League logo during coverage of Wolves v Man City
Amazon’s Premier League logo during coverage of Wolves v Man City in December. Photograph: Ryan Browne/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Amazon has overtaken Netflix to become the fastest-growing video-on-demand service in the UK, as tactics including live-streaming Premier League matches helped it record its best year for adding new subscribers since it launched six years ago.

Amazon Prime Video subscriber numbers jumped by 35% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, to 7.14m homes, coinciding with its debut broadcast of 20 Premier League matches.

Netflix remains by far the biggest player in the UK subscription video-on-demand market, with 12.35m homes subscribing at the end of last year after annual growth of 20%.

Amazon packed the final quarter of the year with popular content including the return of the hit series Jack Ryan, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and The Grand Tour, as well as the Andy Murray documentary Resurfacing, as part of its efforts to convince football fans to pay the £79 annual fee after catching the matches as part of Prime Video’s free trial period.

The strategy appears to have paid off with Amazon attracting a total of 1.86m new subscribers to Prime Video in 2019, the most since the service launched in the UK in 2014, according to figures from Barb, the UK TV ratings body. Prime Video was in 5.28m households at the end of 2018.

The third main player in the market, Sky’s Now TV, saw subscriber numbers drop by 8% between the third and fourth quarters, to 1.69m. Subscribers rose 8% year on year.

The fourth quarter marked a milestone with more than half of UK homes holding a subscription to at least one of Netflix, Prime Video or Now TV for the first time. Almost 14.3m homes now access at least one of these services. Six million homes – a fifth of the total number of UK households – subscribe to two or more subscription video-on-demand services.

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