Total viewing time falls as viewers turn to non-linear

Total cross-platform viewing time appears to have peaked as viewers increasingly turn away from linear TV towards on-demand platforms, according to IHS Markit.

According to the research outfit’s Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time 2019 report, total average daily video viewing time, excluding social media viewing, for the countries analysed stood at 273.7 minutes per-person per-day in 2018. This compares to a peak of 284.3 minutes in 2013, when linear viewing held an 87% share of total viewing in contrast to a 67% share in 2018.

According to IHS Markit, the decline is likely due to the shift in viewing habits towards non-linear viewing in the markets surveyed: the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands,

“During previous years, non-linear television viewing was largely additive to traditional linear TV viewing, driving up the total number of minutes watched,” said Rob Moyser, research analyst at IHS Markit. “

However, non-linear now has become an alternative for linear TV for many consumers. As a result, total cross-platform viewing time is returning to levels seen prior to the rise of on-demand viewing.”​

IHS Markit also found that long-form video, defined as video longer than 15 minutes in duration, is increasingly driving non-linear viewing.Average viewing times for online long-form video expanded by six minutes per-person, per-day, year-on-year in 2018. Online long-form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by online subscription video services such as Netflix.

While total non-social viewing time dipped, the addition of social media viewing took the total number of minutes up slightly compared with 2013. Time spent on social video saw the highest level of increase, adding more than eight minutes per-person per-day.

When including social video viewing, total time spent on video viewing for the countries analysed rose to 303 minutes per person per day in 2018, up from 299 in 2017. Facebook has driven most of this growth as it has increasingly moved towards a video-centric strategy across its social media platforms

“Mobile devices have become a key area of growth in terms of video consumption, particularly out of the home, as data plans become more affordable and screen sizes increase,” said Fateha Begum, principal research analyst at IHS Markit. “Connected living room devices, however, present new opportunities for social platforms to reach wider audiences particularly as consumer appetite for short-form viewing improves.”

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