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IHS Markit: linear TV viewing down in Europe last year

IHS MarkitLinear TV viewing declined in the biggest European markets in 2016 as more TV watching moved to on-demand platforms, according to IHS Markit.

The Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time 2016 report, which analyses TV consumption trends across the big five markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, said that online viewing continues to disrupt the TV market as competition intensifies.

While linear TV continues to make up the majority of consumers’ viewing time, digitally mature markets like the UK and France saw total viewing time stabilise in 2016 – despite seeing the highest rate of growth in non-linear viewing.

Linear TV viewing was found to be highest in Italy, followed by Spain, though both markets experienced declines in linear viewing as non-linear platforms made “strong inroads,” according to the research.

Germany was the only market covered in the report to see an increase in linear, and subsequently total, viewing time in 2016.

“Despite declines, linear TV will continue to account for the bulk of television viewing and must reach a point of plateau,” said Fateha Begum, associate director for television media at IHS Markit. “However, traditional TV operators need to address the fact that competition for consumers’ time and media spend is intensifying.”

“The rising availability of connected set-top boxes presents an opportunity for pay TV operators to bring some of the connected experiences to the big screen. We expect the media and entertainment markets to become increasingly muddied as players, including social media companies, look to expand their portfolios.”

IHS said that total TV revenue – including pay TV subscriptions, advertising and public funding – declined slightly in 2016 to €58.0 billion, compared to €58.3 billion a year earlier, in the big five European markets.

Public funding revenue dropped by 5%, while pay TV revenue increased by 2%, largely driven by on-demand revenue, which grew by 10%.

By comparison, online video generated €5 billion in revenue in 2016, a 32% increase from 2015.

IHS’s research indicated that the average number of on-demand titles offered by UK pay TV operators increased by 13% between 2015 and 2016.

Adaptations to online-style binge viewing was also evident, with the same operators showing a 31% increase in complete box sets during this same time period.