Ofcom reveals UK viewers still value traditional TV as they adopt streaming

Viewing habits move with the times

by Andy Bassett Aug 7, 2019 at 11:51 AM


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    Ofcom reveals UK viewers still value traditional TV as they adopt streaming
    Ofcom’s second annual ‘Media Nations’ report aims to review key trends in the television, video, radio and audio sectors with a view to providing context in these areas of regulation.
    The overall trend reported for television viewing habits is a gradual decline in the total time spent watching traditional TV, yet this remains the most popular way to consume content despite nearly half of all UK households signing up to at least one streaming service.

    Traditional viewing includes programmes watched via catch up within 28 days and amounts to three hours and 12 minutes per day, a drop of 11 minutes from 2018 figures but still significantly ahead of the viewing time for streaming services which came in at a daily 26 minutes in 2018.

    However, despite the large differential in viewing times, the number of households that have signed up to popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Now TV is almost half at 47 percent, up from 11.2M in 2018 to 13.3M in 2019.

    Additionally, the total number of streaming subscriptions rose from 15.6 m in 2017 to 19.1m in 2018 indicating some households are signing up to multiple services and two in five adults were reported as considering online video services to be their main way of viewing content. A similar proportion (38%) felt that they would not be watching traditional broadcast television in 5 years time.

    The share of viewing of traditional PBS broadcasters, BBC One, BBC Two, Channel 4, ITV/STV and Channel 5 remains stable at slightly more than half at 52% compared with 51% in 2017 . However, going back to 2010, before viewing alternatives were readily available, viewers were watching TV for 50mins a day more, so the impact of streaming services can really be seen in the last eight years.

    Aware of this ongoing decline, the PBS broadcasters delivered over 32,000 hours of original, UK produced programming in 2018 which is 100 times the number of original shows delivered by the streaming platforms.

    Accounting for 2 per cent of all streams, and for the second year running, Friends was the most popular streamed TV show on paid for streaming services reinforcing the significance of its loss from Netflix when it moves to HBO Max in 2020. Other popular streamed shows include The Grand Tour on Amazon and The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix.

    The BBC’s Bodyguard was the most watched drama of 2018 with 14.3 million viewers and the channel’s Line of Duty takes that prize so far for 2019 with 12.1 million watching the season finale.

    Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom, said, "The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes.

    "But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play, producing the kind of brilliant UK programmes that overseas tech giants struggle to match. We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we're leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting."

    Time spent in front of display screens watching video among 16-34 years olds now shows they spend over an hour (64 minutes) watching YouTube on a device other than a TV.

    It’s clear that video-on-demand/streaming is shaking up the television sector but how do AVForums members feel about this? Is so much choice a good thing when it comes with increased costs? Are you a traditional lounge dweller or do you like watching content out and about? Let everyone know in the discussion thread.

    Source: www.bbc.co.uk, www.advancedtelevision.com
    Image Source: Ofcom, BBC, NJFamily.com

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