Overall viewing of TV and video in the UK continued to fall in 2022, although broadcasters maintained their share due in part to growth in viewing to their on-demand platforms, according to Ofcom’s sixth annual “Media Nations” report. The study revealed that the average amount of time spent watching TV and video content across all devices in 2022 was 4 hours 28 minutes per person per day, which is about 12% lower than in 2021, when time spent was partly boosted by Covid-19 restrictions.
Meanwhile, broadcasters’ platforms – linear TV channels, TV recordings and their on-demand services – maintained their 60% share of total video viewing from 2021 to 2022, while use of broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) services continued to grow.
There was a slowing in the take-up of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, and there are indications that SVOD viewing declined in 2022 (along with most other forms of viewing as total viewing fell). Two-thirds (66%) of UK households reported using an SVOD service in the first quarter of 2023, down from a peak of 68% in the same period of 2022.
According to the report, the SVOD market in the UK is maturing, with household take-up seemingly approaching a plateau and providers seeking to maintain revenue growth by evolving their business models. The SVOD sector generated an estimated £3.3 billion in 2022, up 21.5% year on year, driven by a combination of price rises and overall growth in subscriptions. However, the indications are that overall SVOD household penetration has plateaued.
Regarding social media, YouTube and Facebook remain the largest social video platforms in the UK, each reaching 91% of UK internet users aged 15+ in the first quarter of 2023. Use of TikTok remains high among users aged 15-24, at an hour per day, but take-up among children has slowed.
At the same time, both reach and viewing of broadcast TV fell by significant margins in 2022, and the number of broadcast programmes attracting mass audiences is in steep decline, Ofcom noted. Broadcast TV’s weekly reach fell from 83% in 2021 to 79% in 2022, the biggest-ever annual drop. The long-term decline in viewing of broadcast TV also continued, as it fell by 12% year on year and was 16% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Furthermore, for the first time there is evidence of a significant decline in broadcast TV viewing among older audiences: over-64s watched 8% less broadcast TV in 2022 than in 2021, and viewing was 6% lower than in 2019 (the last pre-pandemic year). Older viewers are increasingly using streaming services, with take-up of Disney+ among online over-64s rising from 7% in 2022 to 12% in 2023.