The UK presents a promising opportunity for US ad-supported video-on-demand (AVoD) services looking to expand internationally in the footsteps of their SVoD counterparts. Ampere’s latest consumer survey found that 64% of UK internet users had used an AVoD or catch-up service in the past month, exceeding the 42% and 38% reported by French and German respondents respectively. With the highest engagement with free VoD services among major European markets—and one of the highest tolerances to seeing ads while watching TV in the world—the UK is primed to become a stepping stone for AVoD services’ international expansions, particularly into Europe.
Currently, the UK’s free VoD market is dominated by broadcaster video-on-demand (BVoD) platforms, led by the BBC’s iPlayer. Although some of these BVoD players have begun diversifying their catalogues by adding boxsets and creating original content exclusively for the platforms, they largely still exist to serve the same original function: to act as catch-up services for broadcasters’ recently aired content. The catalogues offered by these services differ significantly from the market’s major SVoD platforms. BVoD services tend to have highly localised catalogues with a greater focus on Entertainment and Reality content—51% of the content available on ITV Hub, for example, falls within these two genres alone.
There is an apparent gap in the UK market, therefore, for AVoD services that offer catalogues similar in composition to those offered by the leading SVoD services, including content from a wider range of countries and across top-rated scripted genres like Crime & Thriller and Comedy. This style of catalogue is already offered by AVoD services Tubi and IMDbTV in the US.