August 7, 2019Published by: Drew Benvie

Ofcom report on the future of TV and streaming

The UK is fast becoming a nation of streamers, according to research released this morning by communications services regulator Ofcom. In its latest Media Nations report looking at UK TV viewing habits, it finds that half of UK homes now subscribe to streaming services, highlighting a major shift in the nation's TV viewing behaviour in the last 12 months.

The new data shows there has been an 8% increase of UK households signing up to the most popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life in the last year. Other key data shows that the next generation is going big on video on-demand: young people now spend, on average, 64 minutes a day on YouTube, while the average daily viewing of streaming services across all demographics has increased by seven minutes, to 26 minutes.

We appear to be close to a pivotal moment in the way screen entertainment is consumed, with the research also highlighting that two in five UK adults now consider online video services to be their main way of watching TV and film.

Changing TV habits 

It's not all bad news for the terrestrial channels though – traditional viewing does still account for most TV time (69%, or an average of 3 hours 12 minutes per day), and water cooler TV like Bodyguard and Love Island do still drive the biggest audiences at peak times. However, the changing viewing habits of younger generations in particular is radically altering the consumption of traditional TV, with 50 minutes less watched each day than in 2010; among 16-24 year-olds, it has halved.

With more on-demand services in the pipeline this year, including Disney+ and the BBC/ITV paid subscription service Britbox (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em), it looks like the trend for audiences to turn to streaming channels will continue apace.

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