Trad TV bypassed as UK TV generation gap reaches record high | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The continued surge in the uptake of streaming services in the UK shows no sign of ending but, according to research from UK broadcast regulator Ofcom, it is also showing  signs of a stark divide in the viewing habits of younger and older people.
Ofcom streaming 17Aug2022
The Media Nations 2022 report showed fundamentally that as traditional broadcasters face tough competition from online streaming platforms that were stretching the generation gap, younger adults were now watching almost seven times less scheduled TV than those aged 65 and over. In addition, while people aged 16-24 were spending less than an hour, 53 minutes, in front of broadcast TV in an average day, representing a fall of two-thirds in the last ten years, those aged 65 and over still spend around a third of their waking day enjoying broadcast TV, sitting down for almost six hours (5 hours and 50 minutes) daily. This was actually slightly higher than a decade ago.

Ofcom attributed the changes in younger adults’ habits squarely as a reflection of the soaring popularity of US-based, on-demand streaming services. Around a fifth of homes (5.2 million) subscribe to all three of the most popular platforms – namely, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ – costing around £300 per year.

Nine in ten 18-24-year-old adults were bypassing TV channels and heading straight to streaming, on-demand and social video services when looking for something to watch, with Netflix the most common destination. However, six in ten (59%) 55-64-year-olds and 76% of those aged 65+ still turn to TV channels first.

Yet looking on the horizon, the Media Nations 2022 report found concerns regarding the UK cost of living crisis. it noted that after years of strong growth, the number of homes using streaming services began to slow in 2021, before starting to decline in spring of this year and that as the rising cost of living puts pressure on household budgets, the number subscribing to at least one streaming service fell by more than 350,000, to 19.2 million.

However, Ofcom’s survey of subscribers who cancelled earlier this year also found that almost three quarters (73%) of customers said they thought they would resubscribe – reflecting the flexibility that allows customers to pick up and drop subscriptions depending on changes in programmes, needs or circumstances.

Some  good news for public service broadcasters revealed in the Media Nations 2022 reportMedia Nations 2022 report was that even as they continued to see both audiences and levels of viewing fall, viewing figures of more than 10 million for the Women’s Euro 2022 final and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee show that broadcast television was still a popular choice for momentous national events. And there was better news for their on-demand ‘player’ apps.

Overall, 82% of people said they used a PSB on-demand service in the past six months, roughly the same proportion who said they used at least one streaming service (83%). Six in ten (59%) viewers said they used these platforms to watch channels or programmes live at the time they are broadcast. As a result, the average time spent watching services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 increased to 15 minutes per day, up by three minutes per person per day, bucking the trend of post-pandemic declines in viewing time. The iPlayer also had a high level of satisfaction across all age groups, with over four in five (81%) of those who had used it recently saying they were satisfied with the service.