Connected Nations 2015 covers the availability of mobile and fixed broadband networks, which are becoming an increasingly important distribution mechanism for TV services.
HD take-up falls to 41% in DTT-only households, a figure that is climbing as more homes replace standard definition sets wth the latest HD models. From 2017, only HD sets will be permitted to carry the Freeview logo.
One reason for the variation in DTT viewing is that popular channels BBC One and ITV both have separate HD versions – and separate channel numbers. This is largely due to the expense of transmitting high definition content just for regional programmes lasting less than an hour a day.
Ofcom says there is evidence that viewers will switch to HD for particular types of content, for example, Entertainment, Drama and Soaps. Significantly more viewers choose to watch ITV in standard definition rather than ITV HD, most of the time. The data also show, however, that HD viewing (of ITV at least) increases during major sports tournaments such as the football World Cup in 2014 and the rugby World Cup in 2015.
More households are subscribing to video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime. However, subscription video-on-demand services are, on the whole, complementing conventional TV rather than replacing it. BARB data shows Netflix subscriptions are above average in pay-TV homes and are below average in homes without TVs, as well as in free-to-air TV homes (Freeview and Freesat).
Online catch-up viewing is now increasingly substituting for DVR-recorded programming when viewers want to watch programmes they have missed.