Amazon Prime Video has hit the back of the net in its strategy to claim the crown of fastest-growing subscription video service in the UK, after registering 35% growth in subscribers over the fourth quarter following its exclusive live-streaming of Premier League matches.
The sports strategy contributed to the service notching up its strongest year since its launch six years ago with 7.14m people now signed up to its digital offering. It has invested in a flurry of hit programming such as the big-ticket Jack Ryan series, an Andy Murray documentary called Resurfacing and the latest output of the ever-popular Grand Tour.
But it is the football-first strategy which appears to have done most to boost numbers with 1.86m fans taking up £7.99 per month subscription after catching matches in a free-trial period.
Despite the surge, Amazon has a way to go to match Netflix's subscriber base, which grew 20% over the same period to reach 12.35m households. The fourth quarter of 2019 proved to provide a less hospitable climate for Sky’s Now TV, however, which suffered a fall in subscriber numbers of 8% - although the service is still up by 8% over the year as a whole.
Shortly after the subscription figures for Amazon were released, Sky announced two new sports packages that will combine Sky Sports and BT Sport channels for the first time on Sky TV.
Lyssa McGowan, chief consumer officer at Sky said: “Our customers have always loved sport and we’re delighted to now be able to offer them even more. From the excitement of the Uefa Champions League, Tiger Woods defending The Masters and the rise of Fallon Sherrock, 2020 is a huge year of sport. Now, through our partnership with BT and the launch of our new sports packages, millions of fans can watch all the sports they love.”
2019 has proven to be a turning point for subscription streaming in the UK with over half of all households now signed up to at least one of Netflix, Prime Video or Now TV, with 14.3m homes on board for at least one service and 6m double dipping with two simultaneous on-demand services.