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Streaming entertainment favoured by the young

Young audience favours streaming but subscriptions falling

Younger UK adults watch almost seven times less scheduled TV than those aged 65 and over. People aged 16-24 spend less than an hour (53 minutes) on broadcast TV in an average day – a fall of two-thirds in the last ten years. The changes in younger adults’ habits reflect the soaring popularity of US-based, on-demand streaming services”, UK’s media authority Ofcom says. “But after years of strong growth, the number of homes using streaming services began to slow in 2021 before starting to decline in the spring 2022“.

“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, cancellations do not necessarily represent customers that have been lost for good. Ofcom’s survey of subscribers who cancelled earlier this year found that 73% of customers said they thought they would resubscribe.

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“Those aged 65 and over spend around a third of their waking day enjoying broadcast TV (5 hours and 50 minutes) daily, slightly higher than a decade ago.

5.2 million households subscribe to all three of the most popular platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ – costing around GBP 300 per year.

“Nine in ten 18-24-year-old adults bypass TV channels and head straight to streaming, on-demand and social video services when looking for something to watch, with Netflix the most common destination.” 59% of 55-64-year-olds and 76% of those aged 65+ turn to TV channels first.

“Traditional broadcasters face tough competition from online streaming platforms, which they’re partly meeting through the popularity of their own on-demand player apps, while broadcast television is still the place to go for big events that bring the nation together such as the Euro final or the jubilee celebrations”, says Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence

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Overall, 82% of people said they used a public service broadcasters’ on-demand service in the past six months, roughly the same proportion who said they used at least one streaming service (83%). 59% viewers said they used these platforms to watch channels or programmes live at the time they are broadcast.


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