Ofcom’s Media Nations report reveals that about half of U.K. homes subscribe to streaming services, while traditional television still dominates viewing time.
The number of U.K. households signed up to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and/or Disney Life increased from 11.2 million in 2018 to 13.3 million (47 percent) in 2019. As many homes use more than one service, the total number of subscriptions rose from 15.6 million to 19.1 million last year.
Of viewing time, 69 percent is spent on traditional television, averaging 3 hours and 12 minutes a day, down by 11 minutes from last year. “Viewers now watch 50 minutes less traditional TV each day than they did in 2010,” Ofcom says. “The biggest shift is among younger people (16-24s), whose viewing of traditional TV has halved since 2010.”
Daily streaming has increased to 26 minutes. “Two in five U.K. adults now consider online video services to be their main way of watching TV and film.”
In terms of content, the 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. That accounted for 32,188 hours in 2018, versus 221 hours on the SVODs.
“The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before,” said Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom. “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 U.K. programs 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.”