Advanced Television

Thinkbox: TV still dominates video consumption

March 10, 2016

The latest figures released by Thinkbox – the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK – show that the average TV viewer in the UK watched a total of 3 hours, 51 minutes of TV a day in 2015, 1 per cent less than in 2014 but 5 per cent more than in 2005. This figure, compiled by Thinkbox, comprises all TV viewing watched on any screen in 2015.

For the average viewer, 3 hours, 47 minutes of TV a day was watched on a TV set; 4 minutes was watched on other devices, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.

16-24s watched an average of 2 hours, 24 minutes a day of TV in 2015, which breaks down as 2 hours, 14 minutes a day watched on a TV set and 10 minutes watched on other devices. This is 7 per cent less than in 2014, 8 per cent less than 2005. However, TV remains by far the most popular form of video for this age group.

Representing modern TV viewing

Previously, Thinkbox has reported only the UK industry standard measurement for TV viewing – viewing on a TV set within seven days of the original broadcast, as measured by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) – together with streaming data from the UK Broadcasters for TV viewing on other devices.

However, as TV viewing has developed, BARB’s figures show that an increasing amount of viewing on a TV set now falls outside standard measurement. An estimated 6.5 per cent of all TV viewing in 2015 fell outside the industry standard. Among 16-24s this increases to 14 per cent.

Total video viewing has increased by 15 minutes a day

According to a new Thinkbox analysis of video viewing – combining comScore data with BARB data, Broadcaster VOD stream data, Rentrak box office numbers and calibrating this metered/census level data with the IPA’s Touchpoints study – the total amount of video the UK is watching has increased. In 2015, the average person in the UK watched 4 hours, 35 minutes a day of video in all its different forms, an increase of 15 minutes a day since Thinkbox first analysed total video time in 2014.

TV accounts for 76 per cent of video time

TV – live, playback or on-demand across all screens – had a 76 per cent share of total video viewing in 2015. This share is down from 81 per cent in 2014, however this is set against the increase in the overall amount of video being watched. In 2015, the average person in the UK watched just 3 minutes less TV a day than in 2014.

YouTube accounts for 4.4 per cent of video and SVoD 4 per cent

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 – comprising 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. 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.

Video viewing on Facebook accounted for 2.2 per cent of total video in 2015, with all other online video – which ranges from that watched on sites such as Vimeo and newspaper and magazine websites through to the long tail of online video – accounting for 5.8 per cent. Year-on-year comparison data for Facebook and all other online video is not available as they were not looked at separately in the 2014 analysis.

TV dominates young people’s video world

16–24s in the UK watched an average of 3 hours, 25 minutes of video a day in 2015, with TV accounting for 57.5 per cent of the total. They watched over twice as much Broadcaster VoD than the average (7 per cent vs. 3 per cent), twice as much YouTube (10.3 per cent vs. 4.4 per cent) and twice as much SVoD (8.7 per cent vs. 4 per cent).

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.

“TV has expanded in recent years into new times and places; the way we watch TV is changing,” noted Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox CEO. “We need to show as accurate a picture as possible of how much TV we are watching – and where TV sits in the emerging video world. With so many different forms of video out there it can be confusing so it is important to get a grip on what is really happening.”

“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.”

YouTube executives suggest that Thinkbox’s study substantially underestimates both the size and growth of YouTube in the UK, reporting that globally, the time spent watching YouTube has increased an average 50 per cent for three straight years, and that watch time is growing at 60 per cent year on year, whereas Thinkbox approximates this at a 30 per cent.

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