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The United Kingdom leads Europe in the adoption of both standalone over-the-top (OTT) services, as well as operator-owned multiscreen (TV Everywhere) services. Many UK consumers fit the multi-device profile, with more than 10% of the population in the UK already boasting an average of four connected devices. SKY, with its growing Pay TV subscribers, (9.5 million) and Virgin Media (3.7 million) continue to invest heavily in their multi-screen offerings. Today over 50% of broadband users are using pure OTT services (fueled in part by the BBC iPlayer) while Pay TV operator-owned multiscreen services capture only about 17.5% of Pay TV households. “While multiscreen services will not catch up with pure OTT services by 2017, the growth of multiscreen platforms will be faster than OTT services,” says Sam Rosen, practice director, ABI Research.
Pure OTT video services in the UK continue to rapidly evolve with an increasing number of local and international players entering the market. LOVEFiLM, with 2.5 million subscribers, remains market leader in 2012, but faces stiff competition with Netflix gaining 1 million subscribers within 8 months of its entry into the market. As a result of increasing competition and choice in pure OTT video services, revenues are expected to surpass $500 million by the end of 2012. ”In pure OTT video services, content is the king, but in the short term operators that fail to differentiate purely on content may be able to focus on user experience to woo consumers. Netflix’s content offerings in Europe lack depth; however device penetration and good user interface, makes an enticing offering for consumers,” according to Adarsh Krishnan, senior analyst at ABI Research.
Traditional Pay TV operators are also doing a better job of capturing customers with their multiscreen solutions; BSkyB’s Sky Go already has respectable penetration with nearly 26% of their total customer base using multiscreen services. Virgin, with their TiVO app, is just entering the multiscreen game. Meanwhile, the lines are starting to blur with the launch Hybrid STB YouView by telcos and market leader SKY's foray into OTT service (Now TV).
These findings are part of ABI Research’s OTT and Multi-screen Services Research Service which measures consumer’s transition to the over-the-top (OTT) and multiscreen experiences, operator’s growth, and strategies for players within the markets.