Advanced Television

Research: Streaming driving record online usage in over 65s

December 8, 2021

The popularity of Netflix dramas such as Squid Game, Bridgerton and Tiger King is driving a significant increase in internet usage among pensioners, according to broadband usage data released by connectivity provider TalkTalk.

The data, part of TalkTalk’s latest Internet Insights Report, shows that internet usage among over 65s from July to November this year is up by 69 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. The increase suggests that the pandemic has significantly changed the way older generations now use the internet in their day-to-day lives.

The use of online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, are on the rise among over 65s according to the research. Some 41 per cent said they now stream more content than they did before the pandemic, while more than half (54 per cent) said streaming is now among their favourite hobbies.

While the BBC’s hit Line of Duty and period dramas including The Crown and Bridgerton are perhaps expectedly among the most streamed series for the over 65s, South Korean dystopian thriller Squid Game and true crime documentary Tiger King are also among the top 10:

Top 10 most streamed TV programmes by over 65s

  1. Line of Duty (54 per cent)
  2. The Crown (47 per cent)
  3. Peaky Blinders (41 per cent)
  4. Bridgerton (40 per cent)
  5. Squid Game (33 per cent)
  6. The Queen’s Gambit (21 per cent)
  7. Handmaid’s Tale (20 per cent)
  8. Tiger King (9 per cent)
  9. Below Deck (7 per cent)
  10. Normal People (7 per cent)

Online gaming is also growing in popularity among pensioners, with 1 in 10 (12 per cent) taking it up during the pandemic. Like streaming, it is a data heavy activity – downloading games and uploading data while playing both use significant bandwidth, which has contributed to this large increase of usage among the over 65s.

Minecraft, Fortnite and Call of Duty are the among the most popular games, showing that online gaming is no longer just for the young.

Top 5 most played online video games by over 65s:

  1. Minecraft (82 per cent)
  2. Fortnite (78 per cent)
  3. FIFA (76 per cent)
  4. Player Unknown’s Battle Ground (67 per cent)
  5. Call of Duty (64 per cent)

While streaming and gaming have undoubtedly had a major impact on broadband usage among older demographics, other aspects of their lives are also becoming more online-first. A third (32 per cent) are now using online services for personal admin such as banking and utilities while six in ten (61 per cent) are shopping online. 37 per cent say they now lead a more digitally savvy lifestyle than they did pre-pandemic.

Its perhaps not a surprise to learn that two thirds (67 per cent) say that fast, reliable and affordable broadband is crucial to their day to day lives while one in five (20 per cent) plan to upgrade their internet to a faster package in 2022.

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director of TalkTalk Direct Business and Consumer, said: “Fast broadband is for everyone, not the few. Nothing shows that more by the fact that the over 65s are the fastest rising users over the pandemic. They’re streaming, gaming and doing more than ever since the pandemic. The genie is out of the bottle and it isn’t going back. By 2025 we estimate that peak broadband usage will more than double, which is why we’re continually optimising our network and rolling out affordable full fibre.”


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