Linear TV plummets in popularity but remains dominant form of viewership | Media Analysis | Business
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Despite inroads from social media and OTT, traditional viewing habits reigned in major markets in the major economies over 2019 according to research firm Omdia.
HBOMax 28May2020
The Omdia Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report - 2020 study investigated television viewership trends in the US, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the UK and found that linear TV in the US in 2019 accounted for 63% of television viewing, compared with 16% for long-form viewing and 12% for PVR time-shifted television. Linear TV’s share of television viewing declined dramatically from the from 67% reported in 2018. Similar trends occurred in most of the other countries tracked by the report.

Average total daily viewing time for the markets analysed 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 the implementation of lockdown measures across the countries covered. Italy had the highest total for viewing time in Europe in March at five hours and 46 minutes.

Indeed, Italians spent 346 minutes a day in front of the TV screen in March 2020, an increase of 34.1% on the same period last year, the highest total for viewing time in Europe. Average linear TV viewing time declined in all but one market, with decreases ranging from four minutes in Italy to 19 minutes in the US. The Netherlands was the only market to not see a decline in linear viewing, remaining unchanged from last year.

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

On the non-linear front, online long-form video was the main platform driving growth in 2019. 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. Growth of online long-form video content in 2019 ranged from 55% in Australia to 10%  in the Netherlands.

Growth in over-the-top (OTT) subscribers, direct-to-consumer launches, suhcas HBO Max (pictured) and a rise in connected TV and pay-TV partnerships were found to be fuelling the increase in online, long-term video viewing.

However, the fastest-growing segment of the non-linear view market was social media. Social media viewing across the countries tracked increased by 10 minutes in 2019, a growth rate that surpassed all other forms of non-linear television video. The US led social media viewing, with 49.3 minutes in 2019. The advance of social media was partly propelled by the massive growth of video-sharing service TikTok. Time spent viewing video content on social media platforms increased by 10 minutes in 2019 to an average of 41 minutes per-person per-day across the eight markets analysed. In comparison, all other forms of non-linear viewing increased by a cumulative of seven minutes over the year.

“TikTok’s success was one of the breakout stories of 2019, with the social media app growing at historic rates,” Moyser added. “This rate of increase was so huge it quickly became the most popular social media platform for video viewing in Germany and the second most popular app in three other northern European countries: the UK, France and the Netherlands.”