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Number of subscriptions to media streaming services doubles in Scotland

Ofcom have revealed that Scotland’s uptake of video subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has more than doubled since last year, bringing it above the UK average.

The figures come from Ofcom’s annual communications market report which showed that 21 per cent of people in Scotland watch TV and films online via a standalone video subscription service, up from 9 per cent in 2014.

The surge in numbers has taken Scotland above the UK average of 15 per cent, meaning a higher percentage of Scottish people use Netflix and Amazon compared to the rest of the UK. This is despite the report showing that Scotland was behind the rest of the UK in terms of next generation broadband availablity with 85 per cent able to receive it compared to the UK average of 90.

Vicki Nash, director of Ofcom Scotland, said the BBC, who are currently negotiating a new Charter with the Government, will take "particular interest in the findings which show that people in Scotland are increasingly less likely to watch content on TV at the time it is broadcast." Over the past year there has been a 34 per cent drop in this area which is far higher than the UK average of 19 per cent.

However spending on BBC Scotland and STV on programmes increased by 29 per cent from 2013 to £68.6m in 2014.Ofcom attributed this increased to coverage of two "exceptional events" – the Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum.

The findings will increase pressure to scrap the license fee which has become increasingly unpopular as a consequence in the rise of online streaming services. Director general Tony Hall revealed that the volume of people opting out of buying a TV licence to watch content via catch-up and streaming services has left a £150m hole in the expected income this year.

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