Ofcom’s Media Nations report says major shifts are emerging in Britain’s streaming habits.
The number of UK households signed up to the most popular streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life – increased from 11.2m (39% of households) in 2018 to 13.3m (47%) in 2019.
Yih-Choung Teh, Strategy and Research Group Director at Ofcom, said: “The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes.
“But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play, producing the kind of brilliant UK programmes that overseas tech giants struggle to match. We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we’re leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting.”
Many homes are also subscribing to more than one service. Stackers are increasing the total number of subscriptions from 15.6 million to 19.1 million in 2018.
But the traditional channels are fighting back, with public service broadcasters showing 100 times more original shows than the overseas streaming platforms.
Between them the PSBs, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C, delivered more than 32,000 hours of original, homegrown productions across their channels in 2018.
That’s around 125 times more than was shown on paid streaming services (221 hours). The vast majority of programmes available on streaming platforms are US-made productions, created to be shown in lots of different countries.
Traditional viewing still accounts for the most time spent in front of the TV. Viewers are watching an average of 3 hours 12 minutes a day, that’s a fall of 11 minutes on the year.
Since 2010 daily viewing to traditional viewing has fallen by 50 minutes with the figure halving among 16 to 24s over the same period.
Meanwhile, daily viewing of streaming services increased by seven minutes last year, to 26 minutes, while viewing of YouTube increased by six minutes, to 34 minutes. For the first time, young people now spend more than an hour on YouTube every day (64 minutes, up from 59 minutes).