Netflix now used in almost half of UK homes as traditional TV viewing takes a hit

  • ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie reports.

Almost half of all UK households subscribe to TV streaming services like Netflix, as traditional television stations have seen a decline in viewers.

Young people are now spending more than an hour each day on YouTube for the first time, an Ofcom report has found, while adults use the website around half hour a day.

Traditional television station viewing figures are in decline, despite showing more than 100 times the original UK-made content than streaming rivals.

Traditional television station viewing figures are in decline, despite showing more than 100 times the original UK-made content than streaming rivals. Credit: PA Graphics

The number of UK households signed up to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life, rose from 11.2 million (39 per cent) in 2018 to 13.3 million (47 per cent) in 2019.

Around 38 per cent of online users can imagine not watching broadcast television at all in five years' time.

  • What does this mean for TV?

Despite the World Cup, Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding, and hit dramas like the Bodyguard, BBC One had a three-minute fall to 41 average daily minutes.

In comparison, the average daily viewing of streaming services rose by seven minutes to 26 minutes last year.

The fall in TV's ratings is driven by larger decreases in peak time and falls in viewing by older audiences.

Dramas like Bodyguard, which was 2018's most watch TV drama, resonated with most viewing audiences, according to viewing figures.

However Ofcom warned that “a few popular drama and entertainment programmes are not enough on their own to stem the overall decline in broadcast TV viewing”.

There has been a rise in the number of people subscribing to Netflix and other streaming platforms. Credit: PA Graphic

Despite this, traditional television stations are still the preferred place to watch national events.

ITV was found to be reliant on top 10 regular programmes, which include Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Chase, ITV News, Tipping Point, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, I’m A Celebrity!, The Jeremy Kyle Show (now axed) and The X Factor.

In 2018, they amounted for 50 per cent of total minutes viewed on the channel but only eight per cent of total output.

There has also been a drop in the overall proportion of shared viewing of live TV.

In 2018, 47 per cent of live television viewing was people watching with at least one other person, compared to 51 pre cent in 2010.

Viewers are now watching 50 minutes less traditional television each day than in 2010, with those figures most pronounced among younger people.

  • So what will the UK's future viewing habits look like?

The increase in streaming comes despite viewers saying they feel broadly satisfied with the quality of broadcast television, Ofcom said.

The report comes after the BBC and ITV announced that streaming subscription service BritBox will launch later this year at £5.99 a month.

In terms of offensiveness, bad language, violence, discrimination and sexual content remain the top four concerns, followed by anti-social behaviour and nakedness.

Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom, said: “The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes.

“But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play, producing the kind of brilliant UK programmes that overseas tech giants struggle to match.”

Viewing figures of children in 2018 compared to 2010. Credit: PA Graphics
  • Top streaming programmes in the UK:

1. Friends (Netflix)

2. The Grand Tour (Amazon)

3. You (Netflix)

4. The Good Place (Netflix)

5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Netflix)