A new view on online viewing data now tells us more about how people are watching broadcaster video on demand services across multiple screens in the United Kingdom. It amounts to nearly 60 billion minutes a year, which sounds impressive but average viewing per individual works out relatively low compared to how much television people watch.

The BVOD services report from the audience research organisation BARB reports viewing time across measured broadcaster online video services on computers, tablets and smartphones.

It shows that on these devices the BBC iPlayer was viewed for an average of 575 million minutes a week in 2018.

Over the year, nearly 60 billion minutes of viewing were delivered across the BBC iPlayer ITV Hub, STV Player, All 4 and S4C, My5, Sky Go and UKTV.

These sound like extraordinary numbers. There are just over 60 million individuals in the United Kingdom, so that works out at around 1,000 minutes each a year. That seems like a lot. It is 16 hours and 40 minutes a year, or about half an hour a week.

That is in the context of between around 20 and 25 hours a week of television viewing, depending on the time of year.

The viewing of BBC iPlayer on computers, tablets and smartphones works out at an average of less than 10 minutes per person per week, or about one-and-a-half minutes a day.

UK BVOD viewing in 2018. Source: BARB / informitv analysis

The BBC iPlayer is by far the most viewed of these services. With a 48.9% share of viewing across these services it is watched almost as much as the others combined.

The ITV Hub comes second. Together with STV it had a 21.1% share.

All4 and SVC had a 11.8% share, while Sky Go had a 16.1% share. My5 had only a 1.3% share, while UKTV had less than 1%.

The UKTV service was watched for less than 7.5 minutes a year, averaged across the population.

The peak in the summer was driven by the World Cup coverage on the BBC and ITV, and Love Island on ITV.

Of course, some people will be watching a lot more television programming on these portable screens. There will be others that do not watch any. So the average can mask very different viewing behaviour.

It should also be said that these figures do not include online viewing on television screens, which is where people still generally watch television.

There is now a lot more data available from BARB about online viewing. The organisation has made considerable progress in tracking this.

BARB has commissioned Kantar to install router meter technology in its panel homes to track streaming activity by any member of the household on any device, from designated services, with their consent.

The metering will be installed in panel homes between October and the end of 2020.

This will improve some aspects of viewing measurement in panel homes, although it does not address viewing outside the home.

BARB hopes that it will also facilitate tracking aggregate viewing of subscription online video services like Netflix, which accounted for an unknown proportion of the 20% of currently unidentified viewing on television.