We’ve analysed the top five streaming services available in the UK, comparing everything from price, quality, functionality and type of content available by age and genre. Our ranking reveals the best platform for each category, as well as the overall winner.
Following the launch of Disney+ earlier this year, you might think you know the answer, but the results might just surprise you! Explore the table below by selecting each category to reveal the winner and determine the best streaming service for your family.
While some streaming services might offer deals/special offers for a cheaper monthly price, for a fair comparison we’ve looked at the standard monthly subscription prices per platform.
Based on cost alone, NOW TV is the cheapest service, charging users just £3.99 for its basic monthly package. This is followed by Disney+ and Netflix who offer subscriptions of £5.99 a month. And while BBC iPlayer might be technically free, you are required to have a TV licence to view, meaning the platform comes out as the most expensive per month at £13.25.
With monthly fees pretty similar across the board, we decided to analyse which streaming services were best value for money, based on cost per 100 family and kids’ titles available.
While both Disney+ and Netflix came under £1, with their cost per 100 titles £0.78 and £0.74 respectively, Amazon’s Prime Video wins the title for best value, with users paying just £0.69 per 100 family and kids’ titles.
No parent wants the headache of children arguing over whose turn it is to watch something on their tablet. That’s why the number of screens your subscription service gives you access to is definitely something to consider.
Along with the number of screens, we’ve also compared parental controls, whether content can be downloaded (think car and plane journeys) and how long, once downloaded, users have to watch the content offline.
While all platforms were pretty neck and neck in this category, BBC iPlayer comes out on top due to screens available and offline time.
Although price and functionality are important, the content and genres available are crucial, to ensure you’re not met with ‘I’M BORED’ or ‘there’s nothing to watch’.
If you’re looking for quantity across the board, Prime Video is the platform for you and your family. With 1,162 family and childrens’ titles, it’ll take a lot of screen time before your kids have run out of things to watch. Netflix and Disney+ follow with 811 and 638 titles, while BBC iPlayer lands in last place, with only 108 titles categorised as child focused.
Prime Video also leads the pack when it comes to educational content, something that will have especially been a great help to parents across the country during the coronavirus lockdown.
Have you considered that the best streaming service for your family might differ depending on the age of your children?
While all platforms had some content suitable for all age ranges, our analysis revealed Disney+ to be the best streaming service for children under 7, with 354 titles suitable for all ages. In comparison, BBC iPlayer only lists 21 titles to be appropriate for under 7s.
On the other hand, households with older children should perhaps consider Prime Video, with the platform listing the most titles (51) appropriate for 13 years plus.
If you’re worried about the content younger children might have access to, it’s probably worth bearing in mind Prime Video has the most ‘unrated’ content available (540) on their platform.
With access to more kids’ content than ever before, it’s important to consider the quality of the content available before committing to your chosen subscription service.
For the final part of our research we analysed average ratings from sites including IMDb, ReelGood and MetaCritic to help us determine which platform offers the highest-rated content overall and in turn should hopefully keep those little critics happy!
BBC iPlayer, followed by NOW TV scored highly, with average ratings of 64 and 59 out of one hundred. Interestingly, despite being the best value for money, Prime Video has the lowest quality content, with titles on average rated just 52.
The winner for best family friendly platform goes to…
Coming out on top in four categories, our analysis reveals Amazon’s Prime Video to be the best streaming service overall for families.
Now you’ve decided on the perfect streaming service for your family, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the best broadband deal to match your needs.
Libraries of streaming services were taken from ReelGood and JustWatch as those categorised as either “Children” or “Family” and listed as available in the United Kingdom.
Apple TV+ and Britbox were analysed but not included in our study as they didn't meet our criteria of a minimum of 20 children's TV shows.
Information on subscription prices and number of screens included was sourced from official websites of streaming services or recent articles in the media.
Number of screens denotes number of simultaneous streams allowed under a given subscription. Subscription price indicates the cheapest option possible, meaning:
for NOW TV - it’s the price of the Kids Pass only
for Disney+ - a price of annual subscription divided by 12
for Prime Video - a price of annual Amazon Prime membership divided by 12
IMDb scores, MetaCritic scores, and age ratings were sourced from ReelGood, JustWatch, MetaCritic, IMDb, and OMDb API.
Content genres are not mutually exclusive, with certain titles having multiple genres at the same time. Educational content includes titles tagged as “Documentary”, “History”, and “Biography”.
Data was collected 3-11 Aug 2020