Online television and video receives a lot of media attention but still accounts for a relatively small proportion of all viewing and a small but growing share of total industry revenues. However, there are significant generational differences in the use of online video and attitudes to television. Watching live television was not even ranked in the top ten responses for the media activity that those aged 16-24 would miss most, in recently published research from Ofcom.
People in the United Kingdom appear to be watching slightly less television generally, around 9 minutes less a day in 2013 than the previous year, although more than in the last decade, since BARB changed its measurement panel. Television viewing among those aged 16-24 has fallen even further, from just under 200 minutes a day in 2010 to 185 minutes a day in 2013. That is an hour and a quarter less television viewing a week in that age group.
However, the average weekly reach of television among all individuals in the United Kingdom remains over 93%.
The television industry was worth nearly £13 billion in the United Kingdom in 2013. Of this, it is estimated that online television and video revenue accounted for around £360 million, compared to £50 million five years previously.
According to data from IHS, the value of online video subscription services increased by 76% to £112 million in 2013, while advertising revenue increased 26% to £184 million. Pay-per-view revenue was just £6 million while download-to-own revenue increased 40% to £62 million.
Total online television revenue of £364 million represents just 2.8% of total television industry revenue of £12.9 billion, while online video subscription is about 1.9% of television subscription revenues of £5.9 billion and the advertising supported element accounts for 5.0% of total television net advertising revenue of £3.7 billion.
Half of all adults in the United Kingdom have used video on demand in the last twelve months, up from just over a quarter three years previously.
Decipher research suggests that 38% of online users over 16 years old had used the BBC iPlayer in the previous month, compared to 22% and 20% for the ITV and Channel 4 services. Sky Go was used by 7% while Virgin TV Anywhere was used by 2%. Netflix was used by 14%, while Amazon Instant Video, formerly LoveFilm, was used by 6%.
Free and paid on-demand and streamed movies or television programming accounted for 8% of viewing time across all devices, according to diary research conducted by Ofcom. That is almost 20 minutes a day, compared to just under 3 hours of television viewed at the time of broadcast, and 40 minutes of recorded television.
The main reason for using a video on demand service was to catch up on a programme, cited by over 60% of respondents. Other reasons were as an alternative to programmes on television at the time, to watch at a more suitable time, just to pass the time, or because someone else was watching the television. Only 13% said that it was because there was a good choice of movies or television programmes.
On average, adults in the United Kingdom now spend more time using media and communications each day than they do asleep – around 8 hours 40 minutes compared to around 8 hours 20 minutes sleeping.
As some use of media and communications is simultaneous, the total use is on average over 11 hours a day, rising to 14 hours a day for those aged 16-24. Almost nine out of ten of those in that age group have a smartphone, which they apparently use for an average of over three and a half hours a day, which is more than the time they spend watching television. They may be doing both simultaneously, as they spend 35% of their media time doing more than one media activity at the same time.
Live television accounts for around half of total viewing time among young adults, compared to nearly 70% among all adults.
A fifth of all adults said that watching live television is the media activity that they would miss most, while only 3% of 16-24 year olds said this. It was not even in the top ten most popular responses, although one in ten said they would miss recorded television programmes, with text messaging being the most common response, from one in five young adults.
The Communications Market Report is published by Ofcom and contains numerous statistics about the use of communications in the United Kingdom. It is available for download from the Ofcom web site.