BARB, the audience research organisation for broadcasters in the United Kingdom, is introducing viewing figures for online video subscription and video sharing services in its daily reporting. It will introduce a new definition of total identified viewing, including both broadcaster and other online video services. In preparation, it has released research on how many people watch services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and YouTube on television sets.

In September 2021, BARB identified an average of 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, per day of total broadcaster viewing by all individuals aged over four years. It identified a further 33 minutes a day of viewing of other online video subscription and advertiser supported services. A further 39 minutes a day were spent on online video sharing sites. That added up to a total identified viewing of 222 minutes per day.

This suggests that broadcaster services accounted for two-thirds of total identified viewing.

BARB UK total identified viewing share 2021-09

The numbers come from meters in panel homes that measure streaming through the home network. If services are tagged, viewing through a mobile data network or offline viewing can be measured, although this currently only applies to broadcaster services.

BARB can also measure some viewing across Netflix, Amazon and Disney using audio matching techniques. Its database currently includes over 30,000 hours of programming on these services.

The amount of viewing of total broadcaster viewing has declined over the last year relative to other video viewing, from 78% to 67%.

BARB UK total identified viewing 2021 09

This may be partly attributed to the addition in August of TikTok to the services monitored by BARB.

However, the number of minutes of viewing of identified online video viewing other than broadcaster services has risen from 46 minutes a day in September 2020 to an hour and 12 minutes a day in September 2021.

The BARB data show that Netflix has over 35% weekly reach in viewing on a television set across all individuals aged over four years. The reach of YouTube on television has risen to over 30%, while Amazon Prime Video is around 15% and Disney+ just over 10%.

BARB also reports that 16% of the time the television set was used for something other than watching video that it can identify. That could be playback from disc, gaming, watching unreported satellite channels, or video calling, among other things.

BARB research has the benefit of being based on a statistically representative model of the population, with a panel of around 9,000 router meter homes. It provides an independent perspective on viewing of other online video services, although it is not without acknowledged limitations.

Nevertheless, the measurement of total identified viewing goes some way to showing how much people are watching online services other than those of broadcasters. It shows that broadcasters still account for the majority of viewing across the country, but the increasing use of other services is evident.