Traditional TV sees sharpest ever annual fall says Ofcom report

Lakh Baddhan

Senior Editor


A new annual report published by media regulator Ofcom says Britons are are switching off traditional live television broadcasts in record numbers.

For the first time, the report suggests that older viewers are diversifying their viewing and becoming more likely to take up streaming services like Netflix – an increase from 7% in 2022 to 12% in 2023.

There has also been a steep decline in the number of programmes attracting mass audiences. The number of programmes with more than four million TV viewers has halved over the past eight years.

Only 48 programmes averaged more than four million TV viewers on streaming platforms in 2022, with Netflix accounting for the vast majority.

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Despite the continuing decline of traditional broadcast TV viewing, BBC One (20%) and ITV1 (13%) are still the top two first destinations for viewers when they turn on their TV, with Netflix coming in third (6%). In addition, watching broadcasters’ content – either live, on recorded playback or streamed on-demand – still accounts for the greatest proportion of all time spent each day watching TV and video.

Netflix and Prime Video lead subscriptions

Use of video-on-demand services, such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX, continues to grow. ITVX accounted for 10% of ITV’s total viewing in the first half of 2023, up from 7% across 2022. BBC iPlayer rose from 14% of the BBC’s total viewing to 18% during the same time period.

Social video platforms remain a major part of youngsters’ daily media habits. In March 2023, 5.2 million 15-24-year-olds visited TikTok, spending an average of 58 minutes per day on the platform. This was followed by Snapchat (52 minutes), YouTube (48 minutes) and Instagram (25 minutes).