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Traditional British broadcasters growing faster than Netflix as viewers switch from streaming

Mr Bates Vs Post Office was among the TV programmes boosting traditional broadcasters
Mr Bates Vs Post Office was among the TV programmes boosting traditional broadcasters - ITV

British broadcasters are growing faster than their US streaming rivals as the Netflix boom runs out of steam.

Traditional channels such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have enjoyed a surge in viewing figures this year as audiences increasingly turn to British TV.

Channel 4’s viewing minutes have jumped 32pc in the year so far, while ITV has gained 25pc and the BBC is up 23pc, according to figures from ratings agency Barb seen by The Telegraph.

That compares to a decline of more than 3pc for Amazon Prime, while viewing minutes on Netflix and Disney have grown by just 6pc and 13pc respectively.

The figures suggest that audiences are increasingly turning to traditional broadcasters as deep-pocketed streaming rivals begin to lose their shine.


US companies such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon Prime have been forced to cut back spending on new films and TV shows after rising interest rates drove up the cost of their debt-funded expansion plans. The streaming services have also raised prices in recent months, forcing many customers to rethink their subscriptions during the cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile, companies like Netflix are increasingly licensing shows made by British broadcasters.

Speaking at a conference this month, ITV Studios boss Julian Bellamy said the 20 top-watched shows in the UK are now British, with 18 of them made by public service broadcasters.

Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4, added that UK broadcasters were standing out from international rivals because they were more focused on national identity and creating shows with a positive social impact.

Clarkson's Farm
Despite the success of Clarkson's Farm, Amazon Prime's viewing figures suffered a 3pc decline - Amazon Prime

The increase in viewing figures comes as a much-needed boost to commercial broadcasters, which last year suffered the deepest advertising recession since the financial crisis. The ad slump led to a slowdown in commissioning, while both ITV and Channel 4 have outlined plans to cut hundreds of jobs in a bid to keep a lid on costs.

However, bosses have hailed a recovery in the market in recent weeks amid a broader upswing in the economy.

Channel 4’s streaming service has grown by 7.3bn viewer minutes this year, with overall viewing time hitting a record high of 164bn minutes.

This was driven largely by trusty hits such as Gogglebox, 24 Hours in Police Custody and The Great Celebrity Bake Off.

But the broadcaster also pointed to new releases such as true crime series The Push: Murder On The Cliff and To Catch a Copper, as well as talent show The Piano.

Ian Katz, chief content officer at Channel 4, said: “It’s very gratifying to see a growth in total viewing across our platforms in such a competitive market.

“The wider success of PSBs this year is an encouraging sign of how much audiences value original, quality content that reflects and engages with their lives.”

Meanwhile, ITV enjoyed its biggest ever month in January with 328m streams on the ITVX service. This was driven by Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which racked up 12.4m streaming hours and was the channel’s biggest new drama in over a decade.

Both ITV and the BBC are also set to benefit from the Euros football, though the extent of the boost will be dependent on how far home nations England and Scotland progress in the tournament.