Record generational divide laid bare in latest Ofcom report

The gulf in UK video consumption habits has been laid bare in Ofcom’s latest Media Nations report, with younger adults now watching almost seven times less scheduled TV than those aged 65 and over.

According to the eagerly anticipated annual report, people aged 16-24 spend 53 minutes in front of broadcast TV on an average day, down 66% over the past decade. Adults aged over 65 by contrast spend an average of 5 hours and 50 minutes per day watching broadcast TV, slightly higher than 10 years ago.

While nine in ten 18-24-year-olds typically bypass TV channels and head straight to streaming when looking for something to watch, 59% of 55-64-year-olds and 76% of those aged 65+ still turn to TV channels first. 

The change in consumption habits is borne out by an increasing dependence on a trio of streaming giants – Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+. A fifth of UK homes (5.2 million) subscribe to all three platforms. 

Commenting on this record generational divide, Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s director of market intelligence, said: “The streaming revolution is stretching the TV generation gap, creating a stark divide in the viewing habits of younger and older people.

“Traditional broadcasters face tough competition from online streaming platforms, which they’re partly meeting through the popularity of their own on-demand player apps, while broadcast television is still the place to go for big events that bring the nation together such as the Euro final or the jubilee celebrations.”

The report also looks at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, with SVOD subscriptions falling by more than 350,000 to 19.2 million in Spring 2022. Three quarters of customers who said that they had cancelled a subscription earlier this year said they would resubscribe depending on changes in programmes, needs or circumstances. 

At the same time, there has also been a significant increase in PSB streaming service usage, with 82% of Brits saying they’ve used a player like ITV Hub or BBC iPlayer in the past six months. Six in ten said they use these platforms to watch content live, while the average time spent watching services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 increased to 15 minutes per day, up by three minutes per person per day.

Tags: Ofcom

Most Recent