After surpassing advertising earnings nearly 15 years ago, subscriptions remain the top source of revenue for the television industry in the UK, according to Ofcom estimates. Growth in this arena remains strong and consistent, though online profit is accelerating at a breakneck pace.
In 2018, TV revenue from subscriptions stood around GBP£6.37 billion (USD$7.9bb). Online television revenue climbed to £2.64 billion, surpassing earnings from publicly funded sources for the first time. Taking a more expansive view of that growth, profit from subscriptions has increased by 4.77 percent over the past six years, while online earnings for TV has expanded by 450 per cent. Advertising revenue has largely flatlined for the better part of the past 15 years, falling to £3.81 billion ($4.8bn) last year.
The dominance and expansion of both subscription and online revenue streams for TV speak to the direction the industry is moving in. Both rely on a wide array of content that is easily accessible to keep viewers coming back. Subscription revenue data points include on-demand video, like cable. VOD provides a wider array of content to viewers as opposed to set programmed television times.
Major gains in online earnings fall into a similar pattern. Over-the-top (OTT) options provide streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and are the logical next step for the successful development of TV. OTT services continue the VOD trend, offering even more direct access.
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