'Friends' Is Most Streamed Show in U.K. for Second Year Running

Friends Still OK - H 2015.JPG
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Almost half of U.K. households are now signed up to a paid-for SVOD service.

For all the expensive original content Netflix and Amazon have been putting on their platforms, viewers in the U.K. are more concerned with a TV show that ended more than 15 years ago. 

According to a new report by British media regulator Ofcom, Friends is the most streamed show on paid-for SVOD services for the second year running. The U.S. sitcom, which first aired in 1994 and came to an end in 2004, was only added to Netflix in early 2018 (and will soon be leaving for HBO Max), but now accounts for around 2 percent of total U.K. streams.

Amazon's motoring show The Grand Tour was the second most streamed in the country, following by Netflix's You, The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 

The Ofcom Media Nations report also showed how streaming platforms were slowly taking a hold over British life. Almost half of U.K. households are now signed up to at least one of the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Sky's Now TV and Disney Life, having grown from 11.2 million (39 percent) in 2018 to 13.3 million (47 percent in 2019). 

The Ofcom report says 11.5 million U.K. homes had a Netflix subscription as of the end of the first quarter of 2019, followed by Amazon Prime with nearly 6.0 million subscribers, Now TV with 1.6 million and DisneyLife's 0.6 million.

The total number of U.K. streaming subscriptions rose by a quarter last year — up from 15.6 million to 19.1 million — with one in five adults now considering SVOD services to be their main way of watching TV and film. 

However, traditional TV — including catch-ups within 28 days — still accounts for most watching, averaging three hours and 12 minutes per day. But this figure marks an 11-minute drop since 2017, while the average daily viewing of streamers rose by 26 minutes.