Put very simply, the BBC and British commercial channels are more likely than any others (excluding Mediaset in Italy) to be recommended by their viewers.
Now this isn't just about beating the drum for the UK -- there is actually a point. The continued rise of Netflix has been largely, or at least initially, attributed to dissatisfaction with the huge networks in the USA. Anyone who has spent much time the other side of the pond will know the basis of this. Many of the shows are great, but the ad breaks seem to be longer and much more frequent that we're used to in Europe. It's easy to see, then, the appeal of a service that offers some great shows uninterrupted. "House of Cards" or "Orange is the New Black" and all those other compelling shows are simply much more enjoyable without breaks.
So, it was not a surprise that the U.S. market saw the birth of the personal recorder and the streamers, Netflix and Hulu. The question everyone has since been asking as Netflix eyed first the UK and then mainland Europe was simple. Could Netflix work in a country like the UK where people who have the best television (as backed up by Ampere Analysis) and can already watch several BBC channels without ads?
Sometimes it's good to have some research to back up what you believe you're seeing and in both cases the "did you see" water cooler moments are reflected in Netflix getting high NPS scores in European markets, particularly the UK where you could argue it, in theory, has less of a lure than in the U.S.
The lesson, as ever, is that content really is king. It's the oldest cliche in the book, but it's accurate. People aren't subscribing to Netflix in the UK to get rid of the ads because the BBC already provides this on four top-quality, mainstream television channels. It also is not a decision based on finally getting some good content because the NPS figures for the UK show we already have this in abundance on commercial stations, such as ITV's "Downton Abbey" and C4's "Homeland," not to mention any big movie or sporting event on Sky.
No, the UK already had compelling shows and the opportunity to watch ad-free -- it's just that it wanted more. It was "House Of Cards" that got my wife and I hooked on Netflix and got us immersed in some fantastic shows, such as Narcos, that we would otherwise have missed. We came for the great content, we stayed for the great content, even though we had some great content through our antenna and satellite dish.
Even when you've got great content, you're open to receiving more. Content really is king and our appetite shows no signs of being satiated. As long as it keeps feed this demand, Netflix can only keep on going from strength to strength.