Film streaming doubles in a year as UK reaches on demand 'tipping point'

UK embraces VoD
UK embraces VoD

The UK is finally living the stream dream, according to the British Film Institute, with on-demand movie viewings up 50% year-on-year.

In the BFI's annual statistical yearbook – which is like any yearbook but has statistics instead of embarrassing school photos – it was revealed that video on demand (VoD) viewing is close to becoming an everyday way to consume movie content.

In 2012, there has been a 50% rise in VoD viewing, notes the BFI, which contributed to film bringing a record turnover of £2.7 billion to the UK economy.

VoD's part in this was a not-too-shabby £243 million - that's more money than the entire rental market pulled in.

I am an BFI agent

Being a statistical yearbook, you would have hoped that the BFI would bring out a whole host of Venn diagrams to help visualise this streaming surge. But it seems that companies such as Netflix aren't offering enough information about what content is being streamed.

In short: on demand data is still a little murky.

"As VoD develops and matures it is more important than ever for robust data to be made available to the film industry," pleads the report, "particularly for independent and specialised film."

The timing of this comment is interesting, given that Netflix's second quarter earnings this week was bereft of real data about its streams but filled with flimsy quotes like: "Arrested Development gave Netflix a small but noticeable bump in membership".

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill was also on a data discovery mission, saying about the state of on demand: "It's very exciting that we may be heading towards the tipping point in audience use of video on demand services.

"But we can't fully explore this growing new market without the numbers, so we need video on demand services to release data to help us better understand the emerging VoD market."

We're hoping Nevill's plea will make for a small but noticeable bump in VoD data being released.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.