BBC Starts to Feel the Chill From ‘Netflix Effect’

(Bloomberg) -- Brits are increasingly abandoning TV licenses as they turn to on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, according to The Times.

More than 860,000 licenses -- which allow viewers to watch live television and the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service -- were canceled in 2017-18, the newspaper said, citing figures it obtained. That equates to around 2,300 per day, and marks the first rise in cancellations for five years.

The licenses aren’t needed if viewers only watch on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV. Analysts estimate Netflix has 9.78 million U.K. subscribers, the paper said. To be sure, the cancellations data also covers licenses abandoned for other reasons such as failure to make payments, and people moving in with a partner who already has a license.

State-funded broadcasters face a threat to their viewership from online streaming platforms such as Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc, both of which plan to invest billions in content.

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