Subscription-Based Streaming Services Risk Sacrificing Almost £100 Million Without Ads

New research from The Trade Desk reveals impact of Covid-19, as TV boom is countered by a drop in the amount UK consumers are willing to pay per month

London: Seven out of ten Brits aren’t prepared to spend more than £20 per month on streaming services, a drop of £5 compared to last September when the same proportion of the population were willing to spend up to £25, according to new research by The Trade Desk. This could mean a reduction of up to £97.3 million potentially available to subscription-funded services, from the UK population overall*.

The research also reveals that a third of Brits (33%) now say that £10 is the maximum they’d be willing to spend per month on streaming services – up from 26% who cited the same figure in September last year. Over the same timeframe, the number of people prepared to spend over £25 per month has more than halved.

But while 60% of Brits report that they believe streaming services are too expensive, appetite for new TV content remains high with well over half (58%) of Brits signing up to a new streaming service since the Covid-19 lockdown began. As a result, acceptance of ads has grown, with 70% reporting preferring to see more relevant advertising than pay more to watch TV. Additionally, 84% reported being open to adverts if it means they can watch an episode of their favourite show for free, without interruption, afterwards. And nearly half of those surveyed (47%) would altogether prefer to watch streamed content using a free, or cheaper, service supported by ads.

Dave Castell, General Manager of Inventory and Partnerships at The Trade Desk commented on the findings of the survey: “As COVID-19 has driven the nation into lockdown, Brits have turned to streaming services to fill their new-found free time. It’s not surprising – whether it’s heading to outer space with Disney’s Star Wars spin-off or exploring new shores on Pluto TV’s Travel channel, there’s a multitude of great content to provide a welcome distraction from the outside world. But while people want access to a variety of premium content, there’s a limit on how much they’re willing to pay. And with purse strings tightening, it’s time to think about how ad-funded models could benefit consumers, as well as supporting multiple streaming services.”

He continued: “This data reveals a clear willingness amongst UK consumers to accept advertising if it means accessing their favourite shows for cheaper prices, or for free, but it’s vital that it’s done right. Ads must be creative, relevant and appropriately timed to keep consumers content. In doing so, streaming platforms can generate the revenue they need to keep creating the engaging, entertaining TV that Brits clearly crave, without charging the bill back to them.”


* Based on 27.8 million households in the UK, per Office for National Statistics 2019 (Annual data released November).[online] Available at: [Accessed 27 May 2020].

In April 2020, The Trade Desk commissioned a survey of 1500 consumers, aged 18+, in the UK with the market research company Appinio in order to investigate the acceptance of advertising and the television habits of users.

About The Trade Desk:
The technology company The Trade Desk™ enables brands and agencies to purchase digital advertising. Using the cloud-based self-service solution, media buyers can control and optimize data-driven advertising campaigns in various formats and on different end devices. Integrations with key data, media inventory and publisher partners ensure maximum reach for independent, data-based purchasing decisions. Enterprise APIs enable customers to develop individual solutions based on the cloud platform. The Trade Desk is headquartered in Ventura, California and has offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Trade Desk is proud to be a major patron of the Royal Television Society.

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