Linear still dominant form of TV consumption but gap is closing 

Despite the ever-growing momentum behind on demand video platforms like Netflix and Disney+, linear TV still remains the dominant form of watching claims a new report.

According to Omdia, linear TV accounted for 63% of TV viewing in the US in 2019, with similar trends occurring in the countries covered by the report including Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany and France.

While dominant, this is actually a decline from 67% in 2018, indicating that while linear TV is still the mainstream way of watching, an increasing number of viewers are making on demand their preferred way of watching.

Average linear TV viewing time declined in all but one market, with decreases ranging from four minutes in Italy to 19 minutes in the US. The Netherlands was the only market to not see a decline in linear viewing, remaining unchanged from 2018.

In terms of non-linear viewing, long-form video is the main area of growth in all markets. This is largely driven by SVODs Netflix and Prime Video. This growth is at its most pronounced in Australia, where long-form video consumption increased by 55% year-over-year. It is worth noting that Netflix only launched in 2015 in Australia, putting it years behind a few major markets like the UK (launched in 2012) and the Netherlands (2013).

Rob Moyser, an analyst covering television media, service providers & platforms at Omdia, said: “Although traditional linear television viewing is undergoing a broad-based decline, this form of entertainment remains central to most people’s viewing habits. As a result, linear still accounts for the majority of viewing in all countries tracked. In some countries, linear still strongly dominates viewing, totaling 90 percent in Italy, for example.”

The fastest growing non-linear market is social media, not a surprise given the mainstream explosion of Chinese video app TikTok over the past 12 months.

On average, social media viewing across the countries tracked increased by 10 minutes in 2019, a growth rate that surpassed all other forms of non-linear television video. The US led social media viewing, with 49.3 minutes, more than the average of 41 minutes per-person per-day.

Moyser said: “TikTok’s success was one of the breakout stories of 2019, with the social media app growing at historic rates. This rate of increase was so huge it quickly became the most popular social media platform for video viewing in Germany and the second most popular app in three other northern European countries: The UK, France and the Netherlands.”

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