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Four in five UK consumers used paid streaming services last year – but 8.9m Brits also streamed illegally 

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Four in five (81%) UK consumers used a paid streaming service in some capacity over the last year according to new research from personal finance comparison site finder.com. This is equivalent to 42.4 million people.

However, 8.9 million Brits also illegally streamed TV shows, films and sports over the past 12 months. The fact that 17% of Brits admit to having streamed illegally makes it the sixth most popular streaming method in the UK.

The most popular entertainment to stream illicitly is films with 13% of streamers doing so, equalling 5.4 million Brits. TV programs (12%) like Game of Thrones came closely behind in second place, with football matches (11%) in third and finally other sports (9%), such as boxing.

In terms of the paid streaming services, Netflix is the most popular platform with two thirds (66%) using it over the last 12 months, this equivalent to 28.4 million users in the UK. Amazon placed second with almost half (49%) of British streamers using this service and Sky Go placed third (29%).

MUBI was the least popular paid streaming platform with only 1 in 20 (5%) British streamers using the service over the last year.

Similar percentages of males and females are streaming overall (83% v 81%). However, men tended to binge illegally more so than women, with almost a quarter (25%) of male streamers doing so compared to only 17% of females over the last year. This is due to males illegally streaming football (14% vs 7%) and other sports (12% vs 6%) two times more than females did.

Londoners are the most forward thinking when it comes to streaming as 87% of residents here streamed over the last year. In contrast, the North East of England is the region that is most traditional when it comes to their viewing habits with three quarters (74%) of those who live there streaming.

Londoners are far more likely than any other region in the UK to watch on illegal platforms with almost a third (31%) of streamers here saying they used such services over the last 12 months. On the other end of the scale is the South West of England, only 15% of online watchers here did so illicitly.

18-24 year olds streamed the most overall with 95% of them using a paid online streaming platform, but those who fall into this age bracket were also the most likely to stream illegally, with more than a third (35%) of those who stream saying that they did so over the last year.

Unsurprisingly, those aged over 55 streamed the least as only 69% watched online. Similarly, they were also the least likely to stream illegally as only a tenth (11%) said that they took part in this type of streaming activity.

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Paul Skeldon

Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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