Figures contained in Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report reveal a steady rise for LoveFilm Instant, its internet-only subscription option. By March this year it had reached 2.5 million viewers in the UK.
Second, and some way behind, were Yahoo! Movies and then Netflix, with 1.4m and 1.2m respectively.
Netflix only launched its UK version towards the end of 2011, and the figures (gathered by UKOM/Nielsen) show a rise for all three of those main services until February 2012, when both Yahoo! and Netflix start to drop.
The Netflix dip in particular could be due to 30-day trial periods expiring and some subscribers shifting back to LoveFilm, which continued its rise over the last few months and increased by about 50 percent over the 12 months to March.
The data does not include streaming to smartphone or tablet apps. Although LoveFilm has an iPad app, Netflix has a wider range of apps for portable devices, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone, so it could be closing the gap that way.
This week Sky launched the Now TV streaming service, beginning with its line-up of Sky Movies channels to stream, using a monthly-fee for unlimited access, or pay-per-view for more occasional rentals for both old and new titles.
The “pay and play” option is where Now TV differs from the monthly packages of LoveFilm and Netflix, so the figures for this time next year could be quite different if Now TV succeeds.
Next: Read our Netflix vs Lovefilm comparison