UK TV industry revenues decline, number of channels falls

Overall TV industry revenue in the UK has fallen for the first time since it has been recorded, as have the overall number of channels available. According to the latest data from communications regulator Ofcom, TV remains a central part of UK citizens’ media consumption, but overall TV industry revenue declined 0.4% last year, taking the total to £11.1bn (€13.5bn).

The revenue decline was the first recorded since Ofcom began reporting on the size of the UK market. Most of the reverse was attributable to a fall in advertising revenue generated by commercial broadcasters although pay TV revenue increased 7.5%, taking the total to £4.6bn.

The overall number of channels also fell for the first time, down from 495 at end-2008 to 490 at end-2009. Ofcom said that the closure of the waiting list to launch standard-definition channels on the BSkyB platform and the closure of several channels were to blame. It noted: “Following years of consistent growth, the contraction in the number of channels could suggest that the multichannel market is reaching saturation point.”

Other notable statistics in the Ofcom report included the fact that over a third of UK TV homes now have DVRs and 5.9% of all viewing is now time-shifted – BBC HD was the most time-shifted channel.

Meanwhile, over five million TV homes have access to high definition channels. There was also a sharp increase in the number of consumers using catch-up services. Almost a third of households with internet access used it to watch online catch-up TV. The total rises to 40% among 15-to-24 year-olds.

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