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Report: Linear TV Remained Dominant Form for Television Viewing in 2019


New data from Omdia finds that despite declines in viewership, linear television remained the dominant form of TV viewing for consumers across the U.S. and other major economies last year.

Linear TV accounted for 63 percent of television viewing in the U.S. in 2019, compared to 16 percent for long-form viewing and 12 percent for PVR time-shifted television, according to the Omdia Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report 2020. Linear TV’s share of television viewing is down from the 67 percent reported in 2018, however.

Similar trends occurred in most of the other countries tracked by the report, which covered television viewership trends in the U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the U.K.

Average linear TV viewing time declined in all but one market, with decreases ranging from 4 minutes in Italy to 19 minutes in the U.S. The Netherlands was the only market to not see a decline in linear viewing—remaining unchanged from last year.

The average total daily viewing time for the markets analyzed rose to 306 minutes per person, per day in 2019, an increase of four minutes year-on-year. TV viewing saw a massive rise in consumption in March and April 2020, following lockdown measures across the countries covered. Italy had the highest total for viewing time in Europe in March, at 5 hours and 46 minutes. Italians spent 346 minutes a day in front of the TV screen in March 2020, an increase of 34.1 percent on the same period last year, the highest total for viewing time in Europe.

“Although traditional linear television viewing is undergoing a broad-based decline, this form of entertainment remains central to most people’s viewing habits,” said Rob Moyser, an analyst covering television media, service providers and platforms at Omdia. “As a result, linear still accounts for the majority of viewing in all countries tracked. In some countries, linear still strongly dominates viewing, totaling 90 percent in Italy, for example.”

Online long-form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by online subscription video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The growth of online long-form video content in 2019 ranged from 55 percent in Australia to 10 percent in the Netherlands. Omdia indicates that growth in OTT subscribers, D2C launches and a rise in connected TV and pay-TV partnerships are fueling the increase in online, long-term video viewing.

The fastest-growing segment of the nonlinear viewing market is social media. Social media viewing across the countries tracked increased by 10 minutes in 2019, a growth rate that surpassed all other forms of nonlinear television video. The U.S. led social media viewing, with 49.3 minutes in 2019.

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at [email protected]


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