Wednesday 7 August 2019 2:38 pm

Youtube and Netflix among most-watched channels as streaming booms

YouTube and Netflix are now the third and fourth most-watched video services in the UK, as streaming continues to eat away at traditional TV viewing.

British adults watch on average 34 minutes of Youtube and 18 minutes of Netflix per day, overtaking both Channel 4 and BBC Two.

Read more: The new King of the Jungle: Why Disney could be a spoiler for Netflix

Only BBC One and ITV remain more popular, with 48 minutes and 37 minutes respectively.


The figures, published by regulator Ofcom, highlight the growing shift towards on-demand video.

Roughly half of UK homes now subscribe to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV, the report found.

“The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before,” said Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom.

“In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes.”

Interrupted views: Who watches what?

Channel18-34 year olds (hh:mm)All adults 18+ (hh:mm)
BBC One00:1500:48
ITV00:1700:37
Youtube01:0400:34
Netflix00:4000:18
BBC Two00:0400:13
Channel 400:0800:12
Channel 500:0500:09
Amazon Prime00:0900:05
ITV 200:0700:05
E400:0500:03

Despite the rise of streaming, broadcast TV still accounts for the majority of viewing time. However, the gap has been narrowing in recent years, and viewers now watch 50 minutes less traditional TV per day than in 2010.

This shift is most pronounced among 16 to 24-year-olds, whose broadcast viewing has halved over that period.

The report also revealed that while public service broadcasters may be losing audience share, they still show over 100 times more original, UK-made shows than overseas streaming rivals.


Public service broadcasters have continued to create popular shows. Line of Duty is the most-watched programme so far this year, with 12.1m people viewing the final episode. Bodyguard was last year’s biggest hit, racking up 14.3m viewers for the finale.

But the report revealed that to account for the drop in viewing since 2017, roughly 34 additional series of Bodyguard would need to have been broadcast last year.

Gavin Stirrat, vice-president of Europe at ad firm OpenX, said: “Quality UK programming such as Line of Duty, Bodyguard and Love Island are all seeing consumers flock to their screens, but the reality is that the availability and convenience that major streaming companies offer, means US programming ultimately gets more air time through better access.”

BBC and ITV have announced plans for Britbox, their joint streaming service that will offer subscribers access to their huge back catalogue of programmes for £5.99.

The BBC has also secured approval from Ofcom to keep its shows on its iPlayer platform for a year, in a key step forward in its aims to meet the on-demand needs of viewers.

Read more: Britbox: BBC and ITV strike deal for new streaming service

But US streaming giant Netflix has also upped its commitment to producing content in the UK, striking a deal to create a vast production hub at Shepperton Studios, and its subscriber base of 150m means broadcasters may be facing an uphill battle.

"The competition among streaming giants is already advanced and as late movers, the UK’s TV landscape could struggle to ward off its well established and global competition," said Stirrat. "Of course, content is king – but we’re now seeing that convenience is coming in close second."

Main image credit: Getty


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