More young people are cancelling video streaming subs – can Netflix with ads change that?

More young people are cancelling video streaming subs – can Netflix with ads change that?
(Image credit: Our Father / Netflix)

More bad news for Netflix – more British households are cancelling video-streaming services due to the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research. And, to make things worse, the highly sought-after young market are the most likely to cancel.

More than three million UK households have cancelled their streaming service already this year, according to research firm Kantar (the BBC reports). That includes 1.6 million between April and June, up from 1.51 million in the first three months of the year.

Under-24s were the most likely to cancel. More than a third of all cancellations were attributed to cutting costs at a time when everything from petrol, energy bills and food are all becoming more expensive.

According to the research, younger people – who are highly sought after by businesses due to their lifetime spending potential – are instead turning to free services such as TikTok and BBC iPlayer.

About 58 per cent of UK households have at least one video-streaming service.

Netflix was the first of the big boys to experience what business people call 'headwinds' (falling demand, to the rest of us). It recently lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade, dropping 200,000 in a period in which it was forecast to gain two million. It estimates it will lose a further two million for the period of April to June.

In response, it will launch a cheaper, ad-supported tier (after saying for years it wouldn't 'do' ads). It hopes this will stem the flow of deserters, while also bringing in revenue from advertisers.

Will it be enough? And are Disney PlusHBO MaxAmazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ better placed to weather the storm? We will find out soon enough...


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • Freddy
    That’s because they’re rubbish!
  • ballamannin
    I’d rather pay a little more for no adverts. However, what I am thinking of doing is cycling through them month subscription 1/2 month off. Then just binge what I want on one at a time for a month so only have one active subscription instead of 3.
  • kdbur
    Apple TV+ offers a more curated offering for £50 a year and is my preferred streamer.

    Netflix offering their cheapest tier in SD is an insult!

    If their ad supported tier is in 4K is the same price as their current cheapest tier, I will go for it, otherwise it's a no from me...
  • manicm
    I've said it before, and I'll repeat it - advertising is not going to save Netflix.

    It's problem is the content that has been pulled from the service - by Disney and others. Star Trek has been pulled. The latest Dynasty series has been pulled. They've canned some interesting series.

    If there's no content that viewers want to watch they won't subscribe - simples.
  • Terry Webb
    Netflix isn't my cup of tea but why don't they offer a once a year upfront subscription payment at a discount price.