Business Technology

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Netflix threat to Sky and UPC as it hits 150,000 subscribers

Adrian Weckler Technology Editor

NETFLIX, the online video streaming service, is becoming a serious threat to UPC and Sky in Ireland. New figures show it has a subscriber base of over 150,000 here.

The figures, compiled by Enders Analysis, will worry traditional terrestrial and cable broadcasters and will be seen as a sign that people are now starting to realise the true potential of high-speed broadband.

At present, UPC's television subscriber base of 335,000 is falling, while Sky is estimated to have more than 500,000 Irish subscribers.

Ironically, Netflix's popularity is down to the availability of high-speed broadband from some of the same companies that are losing out.

UPC's fibre-broadband rollout now reaches almost 750,000 households, almost half of which have signed up for it.

Sky and UPC have sought to fight off the threat of Netflix by adding on-demand television and movie-streaming services.

Last week, UPC launched a new service that lets subscribers stream films and television programmes on to iPads and laptops around the home.

Other film-downloading services, such as those offered by iTunes or Microsoft's Xbox Live, have struggled to gain critical mass in the Irish market.

The new Netflix subscriber figures come after it revealed that it has 38 million paying subscribers globally, including 29.8 million in the US.

The service has proven to be wildly popular in the States and now takes up to 30pc of internet traffic during peak-viewing times, far in excess of illegal filesharing traffic.

STREAMING

The web service has begun making its own programming, spending millions of dollars and gaining multiple television award nominations for series such as 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is The New Black'.

'House of Cards' had a €74m budget, with a top cast, and was nominated for nine Emmys.

Netflix has also gained traction for fans of cult shows such as 'Breaking Bad', the drama about a schoolteacher turned meth lab creator.

The company's shares recently hit a two-year high after a deal with the Weinstein Company, maker of 'Django Unchained'.

In its battle with Sky, UPC recently launched its new set-top box, called Horizon, that combines television services with high-speed broadband and a home telephone package.

It is priced at a minimum of €66 a month and is available only in UPC's advanced coverage areas, estimated at around 740,000 homes.

Irish Independent

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