SVOD on the up but TV viewing time dips year-on-year in France | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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Fewer big news stories and an especially mild winter are being attributed for an annual decline in TV viewing minutes in France during 2019 showed research from Médiamétrie.

Mental 28March2019The leading French analyst found that in 2019, daily TV viewing time remained high on 3 hours 40 mins on average each day per person across all households, all devices, and for live broadcasts, time-shifted and catch-up viewing. Nevertheless, that figure had declined by 6 minutes compared with 2018.

In addition to the unseasonal weather and lack of big breaking new, Médiamétrie said that viewing times were measured in a context where TV viewing time was decreasing around the world. Moreover, the analyst said that TV was working in a world with a number of strong alternative options such as SVOD which is quickly becoming an established part of France’s audio-visual landscape.

Médiamétrie added that over the course of 2019, television reasserted its power by playing to the strengths of its core identity. French people gathered around their TV sets around the TV for an average of 4hrs and 7mins every day, primarily watching television channels (3hrs 30mins), but also playing games, watching films on a VOD/SVOD service, or even using ancillary set top box and online services. The study also showed that the classic prime time peak audience of 9:30pm drew on average more than 23 million viewers each evening. This said the analyst was television’s true firepower.

Sporting competitions were particularly popular in 2019 with 39.5 million TV viewers watching at least one game played by the French women's football team during the Women’s World Cup during the year and 35 million viewers tuned in to watch the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Top entertainment shows among young people included The Masked Singer aired on TF1 which captured nearly 45% audience share in the 15–34 year old category, and Eurovision (France 2), a show whose audience has been growing younger over the years. Some “classic” films are also part of television’s DNA: regularly featured in the schedules, they still unite audiences today. Finally, one film première that was broadcast really drew in the crowds: The Lion King cartoon aired unencrypted for the first time on M6 and was watched by 4.7 million viewers of all ages.

The study also found that in 2019, 7.8 million French people used a catch-up service to watch programmes, 13% more than two years ago. Fiction was the leading genre for this viewing practice. Online viewing was also an integral part of the evolution in TV consumption: each day, 4.3 million French people watch programmes on a computer, tablet or smartphone for an average time of 1hr and 58 mins, representing an increase of 55% over the last year.

Another service which is gaining in popularity and broadening its offering is preview. In November 2019, more than 2 million TV viewers watched a programme which the channels made available prior to airing it live. In some cases, this alternative mode of viewing mode has given a real boost to the ratings, for example the series Les Sauvages on Canal+ achieved 54% of its audience thanks to preview. TV viewers can access TV content exclusively on-demand, as in the case of SKAM, a France Télévisions series that is only available on the France.TV Slash on-demand platform (pictured).

Yet the big digital driver were SVOD platforms which in France drew 4.5 million daily viewers in the year. The survey found that SVOD was borrowing more and more features from television. Namely, SVOD has a screen of choice in the form of the TV set, used by 73% of SVOD users, and has a prime-time and peak audience at 10 pm that bring together2.2 million users. It also runs weekly schedules. Apple TV+ for instance will begin airing episodes of its series each week. Disney+ is following suit with their series The Mandalorian.

SVOD in France is also making TV richer. Médiamétrie’s research noted that the fictional genre was growing with an extra 750 hours of fiction in 2019, and recorded some real hits among French series which occupied 53% of the top prime time slots in 2019 compared with 13% in 2009. One example was Bazar de la Charité, a TF1-Netflix co-production that aired first on TF1 and then on Netflix and which won universal acclaim with 7.8 million viewers on average tuning into each episode on TF1.