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Ouch Potato: Brits left in streaming limbo as platforms push them to accept ads or big bill hikes

UK shoppers are feeling the pinch as costs continue to rise and entertainment, specifically streaming services, are no exception. This year, all the most popular streaming services have all announced price rises in the second half of this year, affecting millions of UK viewers.

Disney+ is the latest service to impose a price hike on customers, with its standard package rising from £7.99 to £10.99 a month in December’s bills. This is a 38% rise and represents an annual price increase of up to £274 million across its 7.6 million UK subscribers.

The UK’s most popular streaming platform Netflix announced its latest price rise in October, increasing the cost of its basic plan by £1 to £7.99 a month, while hiking its premium plan to £17.99 a month; a £2 per month rise. Importantly, it also has removed the Basic tier for new subscribers, meaning their cheapest ad-free option will now be the Standard plan at £10.99 a month.

Despite the recent price rises, the global streaming market is set to grow in the coming years, with subscriptions forecast to increase by 321 million between 2023 and 2029. This equates to a total of 1.79 billion.

To make things easier this winter, we’ve put together a list of the best streaming services over the festive season.

We decided this list from IMBd has the best 100 festive films. The table below shows which service is the best, depending on which genre you like best.


Best streaming service


Total number of films

Amazon Prime


Best critics score

Channel 4


Best for action



Best for animation


Apple TV and Disney+

Best for comedy

Amazon Prime

Disney+ and NOWTV

Best for drama

Amazon Prime


Best for families

Amazon Prime


Best for fantasy

Amazon Prime and NOW TV


Best for horror

NOW TV and Starz


Best for musicals

BBC iPlayer


If you’re thinking of streaming plenty of festive content this year, Amazon Prime is the best service to focus on. They have almost a quarter (23) of the best Christmas films. Including ‘It's a Wonderful Life’ (1946), ‘The Night Before’ (2015) and ‘Scrooged’ (1988).

Animation or Action seekers should head over to NOW TV. You can catch ‘Violent Night’ (2002) and ‘Batman Returns’ (1992). For festive-classic Die Hard (1988), you’ll need a Disney+ subscription, with that service coming second for action.

The best service for comedy, drama, family and fantasy Christmas films can all be found on Amazon Prime.

If you’re looking for something a bit scarier, both NOW TV and Starz are streaming ‘Krampus’ (2015).

The only musical you can stream from the list is the 1947 classic; ‘It Happened on Fifth Avenue’ which is available on BBC iPlayer.

Alex Tofts, streaming expert at Broadband Genie, comments: “Streaming subscriptions have not been exempt from spiralling living costs this year and these latest price rises put more strain on households as we enter the expensive festive period.

“Many viewers who were drawn to platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus by the promise of watching their favourite films and series ad-free are now having to fork out more to keep it that way.  

“Now is the time to take stock of what TV services you are paying for and assess whether you’re getting enough boxset bang for your buck. While it’s tempting to subscribe to several platforms at once, pausing or cancelling some temporarily is a good way of keeping your costs down.

“Some broadband and mobile providers such as O2 offer free access for up to six months to Amazon Prime Video or Disney+, while Vodafone and EE have bundle deals where you can get multiple services at a discounted rate - this is a good way to save if you want to keep hold of your packages for the long haul.

“While the number of streaming services offering free trials or short-term offers has fallen, there are still some out there. Amazon Prime and NOW TV have free trials of a month and a week respectively, while Apple TV+ also has special deals for people who have recently bought Apple tech. With all trials, check the small print and be sure to cancel before the trial period ends if you decide not to continue.

“While adverts aren’t for everyone, the ad-supported plans offered by the likes of Netflix and Disney+ can significantly lower your monthly outgoings. On average, most platforms will only show about four minutes of ads every hour, so you might not find them too disruptive.

“Rather than having multiple subscriptions, consider jumping from platform to platform and bingeing on the best each has to offer. Just be careful if you’re currently signed up to Netflix’s Basic without ads, as once you cancel, you won’t be able to access this tier again.”

Meet the author:

Broadband Expert

Alex came on board in October 2016 and in that time has risen to Broadband Genie’s resident broadband expert. For the last 7 years, he has appeared all over the UK press, giving expert advice about anything and everything related to broadband.

Specialist subject: Fighting the consumer's corner on all things broadband.

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