TV still rules despite growth of YouTube and subscription services

While the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube have exploded in recent years, TV still accounts for the majority of video consumption in the UK at 76 per cent.

According to figures released today (10 March) by Thinkbox, the average TV viewer in the UK watched a total of three hours, 51 minutes of TV a day in 2015, one per cent less than in 2014 but five per cent more than in 2005 (this comprises all TV viewing watched on any screen in 2015).

In the UK, YouTube has grown as a proportion of total video in the last year, up from 3.5 per cent in 2014 to 4.4 per cent in 2015. Online ‘adult’ video also accounts for 4.4 per cent of total video, down from 4.6 per cent in 2014.

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) viewing – comprised of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other SVOD services – has also grown. In 2015, SVOD accounted for 4 per cent of total video, up from 2.3 per cent in 2014.

According to Thinkbox it is probable that a significant proportion of SVOD growth has come at the expense of DVDs, which accounted for 3.8 per cent of video in 2014 but 2.9 per cent in 2015.

Younger people are spending more time watching TV and other forms of video online thanks to screens like tablets and smartphones. 38 per cent of 16-24s’ video viewing is on devices compared with 20 per cent for all individuals.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox chief executive: “These new figures show that TV dominates the video world for all age groups. Today’s young people watch on-demand forms of video more than the generations before that didn't grow up with them. This makes sense as they do not tend to have control of the TV set and so turn to their personal screens to watch what they want. What is remarkable is that in the last decade, when so many new technologies and services have arrived that could have disrupted TV, TV viewing has remained so dominant.”

Recently published figures show that TV advertising revenue in the UK totalled £5.27 billion in 2015, up 7.4 per cent on 2014. This is the sixth consecutive year that TV advertising revenue has grown in the UK.

YouTube has since been in touch with The Drum to dispute Thinkbox's figures, with the platform claiming that viewing per week is significantly higher and that viewing growth is running at a rate of about 60 per cent in the UK.

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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