Around half of all UK homes now subscribe to TV streaming services, according to a major Ofcom report revealing rapid shifts in the nation’s viewing habits.

Ofcom’s Media Nations report, a comprehensive study of major trends in UK television, radio and audio, published today finds:

The number of UK households signed up to the most popular streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life – increased from 11.2m (39%) in 2018 to 13.3m (47%) in 2019.

While traditional TV viewing continued to decline in 2018, the UK’s public service broadcasters – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C – showed more than 100 times more original, homegrown shows than the overseas streaming platforms.

Traditional channels still form 70% of TV time
Traditional TV viewing is falling at a slightly accelerating rate, driven by the changing habits and preferences of UK viewers.

While traditional viewing still accounts for most TV time (69% – or 3 hours 12 minutes, on average, per day), this fell by nine minutes in 2017, and by 11 minutes last year.

Viewers now watch 50 minutes less traditional TV each day than in 2010. The shift is most pronounced among younger people (16-24s), whose viewing of traditional TV has halved in that time.

Young now spend hour on YouTube each day
In contrast, average daily viewing to streaming services rose by seven minutes last year, to 26 minutes; while viewing to YouTube rose by six minutes, to 34 minutes. For the first time, young people now spend more than an hour on YouTube every day (64 minutes, up from 59 minutes).

Two in five UK adults (2019 42%, 2018 37%) now consider online video services to be their main way of watching TV and film. Such is the attraction to online viewing, a similar proportion of people who use subscription streaming services (2019 38%, 2018 35%) could envisage not watching traditional broadcast television at all in five years’ time.

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