New research from the UK regulator Ofcom has found that while the appetite for streamers such as Netflix is increasing, the amount of money spent by broadcasters the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on new, UK-made TV programmes fell to a 20-year low.
The amount of time spent in front of the TV is also on the way down – average daily viewing on the television set fell by nine minutes in 2017 – and has fallen by 38 minutes since 2012.
Between them Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV now reach 15.4 million subscribers, overtaking the 15.1 million subscribers that take a pay-TV service.
But the report also reveals that subscription video on demand services are often complementary to a traditional pay-TV sub. In Q1 2018, 71% of those with an SVoD subscription also had a pay-TV service – approximately the same proportion as the previous year.
Total daily viewing time across all devices stands at 5 hours one minute, of which two-thirds (three hours 33 minutes or 71%) was broadcast content, and 1 hour 28 minutes was non-broadcast content.
“Today’s research finds that what we watch and how we watch it are changing rapidly, which has profound implications for UK television,” said Ofcom chief executive Sharon White. “We have seen a decline in revenues for pay TV, a fall in spending on new programmes by our public service broadcasters, and the growth of global video streaming giants. These challenges cannot be underestimated.”
Across all devices, the UK’s total television and audio-visual viewing in 2017 reached five hours and one minute per day.
The majority of this (three hours 33 minutes or 71%) was broadcast television, with the remainder (one hour 28 minutes or 29%) non-broadcast content such as YouTube and services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
However, viewers aged 16-34 watched more non-broadcast than broadcast content – an average of 2 hours 37 minutes a day (54%) across all devices, compared with 2 hours 11 minutes (46%).