Q2 2022 results
The rising cost of living hits content subscriptions in Q2
The Q2 results of our media consumption tracker evidence a decline in Brits paying for content
The effects of inflation can be seen in our Q2 UK media consumption tracker results, with usage of paid content subscription services declining.
This is most pronounced in news media subscriptions (both print and digital), which fell by 8.8 percentage points in the three months to June 29. Just over 76% of Brits don’t pay to access newspaper or magazine content, indicating that journalism will suffer during the cost of living crisis.
We also see a 1.6 percentage point reduction in the number of people using a subscription TV streaming service; 12.3% of UK consumers say they don’t watch any. Meanwhile, eight out of the 11 paid-for TV streaming services in our survey recorded a drop in regular users, which could point to a loss of subscribers.
The biggest loser was Netflix, which dropped 2.1 percentage points (to 74.3% of Brits watching at least once a week), despite Stranger Things being named the number one show of the quarter. Netflix will be hoping their newly-announced plan to launch a cheap ad-supported subscription option will help shore up subscriber numbers (the platform lost almost 1m subscribers globally between April and July according to official figures).
Amazon Prime and Disney+ also both experienced a 1.7 percentage point loss in viewers during the quarter (to 45.7% and 35.9% respectively). It’s a very different picture to Q1, when all of these platforms chalked up growth.
On the other hand, the number of people watching terrestrial TV is trending up by 2.6 percentage points to 78.6%. And people are watching live TV for longer, with a 1.4 percentage point increase in 4-hour-plus viewing sessions. This reverses the trend seen during the first quarter, when live TV was in decline.
No news is good news
It’s not just paid-for content subscriptions that Brits are eschewing in Q2; magazines and newspapers are trending down in general. The number of people who never read a printed newspaper has risen by 3.6 percentage points to 46% – almost half of the population. And while accessing news digitally is far more popular, we see usage declining here too.
The number of people visiting news sites or apps daily has dropped by 1.8 percentage points to 36.8%, and weekly visitors are down by a further 2.1 percentage points to 29.9%. People not using them at all has also increased by 1.4 percentage points to 15.9%. Could this be down to the depressing news agenda?
Magazines are faring even worse, with the number of Brits who never read a printed magazine increasing by 4 percentage points to 42.7%, and by 4.7 percentage points (to 45.9%) for magazine websites/apps.
Audio not sounding good in Q2
Brits have also switched off their radios in the second quarter of 2022. While the medium was trending up in Q1, we now see a 1.8 percentage point increase in the number of people who never listen to the radio (13.6%). Daily listeners have decreased by 1 percentage point to 38.7%, and weekly listeners have declined 1.1 percentage point to 33.1%.
Podcasts – another medium doing well at the start of the year – have recorded a 2.3 percentage point increase in people never listening (to 43.6%), and daily/weekly listeners have fallen by 1.9 percentage points to 27.8%. Audiobooks, meanwhile, are suffering even more, with a 4.7 percentage point increase in the number of people who never listen to them – now standing at a significant 64.7%.
Music streaming platforms did see growth during the period – with one notable exception. The number of people regularly using Amazon Music declined by 4.7 percentage points to 20.5%, meaning it is no longer the UK’s second-most popular platform (behind Spotify). That title now belongs to YouTube Music, which made a small gain in regular users (following a Q1 loss) and now owns 23.8% of the UK market.
Social media trending down
It could be down to the better weather, but Brits spent less time on social media during Spring. Out of the nine platforms in our survey, seven of them saw usage go down. TikTok experienced the biggest loss (following a positive performance in Q1), with a 1.9 percentage point reduction in weekly users to 25.1%, and a 1.6 percentage point uplift in people never using the platform to 52.2%.
The only platforms to buck the downward trend were Pinterest, which grew daily and weekly users by 2.9 percentage points to 14.9%, and Snapchat, which saw a 2.5 percentage point uplift in daily users to 21.3%. Both platforms, however, are still small players when compared to the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, who dominate the top three.
The ‘will he/won’t he’ drama around Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter (and the platform’s threatened lawsuit) hasn’t succeeded in gaining the site any more users. In fact, 41.3% of Brits now never use Twitter, following a 1.9 percentage point decline in users.