UK subscriptions fall as inflation rises

Households in the UK are abandoning steam services in record numbers as runaway inflation eats away at already stretched budgets, media reported Monday (April 18).

Streaming services have seen a major surge during the pandemic, but the shift to a post-COVID world in the crosshairs of the Russian-Ukrainian war is riddled with high prices for everything from groceries to fuel. In response, tight household budgets are putting the ax to luxury items, like having multiple subscriptions.

Subscribers to Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ and similar services plummeted in the first quarter of this year as overhead costs of daily living began to take a larger percentage of people’s incomes. The number of UK households with at least one subscription streaming service fell by 215,000 in the first quarter.

Read more: Men’s suits, donuts, jogging bras, pet supplies as UK upgrades inflation basket

“With many streaming services experiencing significant revenue growth during the height of COVID, this moment will be sobering,” Dominic Sunnebo, global director of insight at Kantar Global Panelreport publisher Entertainment on Demand, told the Guardian.

“Evidence from these results suggests that UK households are now proactively looking for ways to save, and the subscription video on demand (SVoD) market is already seeing the effects,” Sunnebo said.

There are more streaming services available than ever before, at a time when living standards are expected to fall to their lowest since the 1950s. There were 1.29 million new streaming service subscriptions in the first quarter of this year against 1.5 million cancellations, according to the Kantar Worldpanel report.

Related: 82% of consumers who are pessimistic about the economy cite inflation

Consumers are also looking at monthly subscription costs based on price increases. Netflix, for example, recently increased its monthly subscription fee from £10 to £11. In 2021, Netflix attracted the lowest number of new subscribers in the UK since its launch in 2012.

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