LONDON: Time spent viewing broadcast television fell again in 2017, while the first quarter of 2018 saw the number of subscriptions to OTT services overtake those to pay-TV services, according to a new Ofcom report.

The UK regulator’s first annual Media Nations report reviews trends in the television and audiovisual sector as well as the radio and audio sector.

One is the continued decline in broadcast viewing on the TV set, which fell by nine minutes (4.2%) in 2017 to an average 3 hours 22 minutes per day; since 2012, there has been a total decline of 38 minutes (15.7%).

The TV set itself is not being used any less, however, as non-broadcast content (including subscription on-demand services such as Netflix, and YouTube viewing) made up 42 minutes (17%) of the 4 hours 9 minutes of total TV and AV content watched per day on a TV set.

Fast broadband and increased use of connected televisions are at the root of changing viewing habits, especially among younger viewers: the report noted that in Q1 2018, the number of pay-TV subscriptions in the UK, at 15.1m, had been overtaken by the total number of subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon and Sky’s NOW TV, at 15.4m.

It added the caveat that the latter figure includes subscriptions to multiple on-demand services within one household: 11.1 million households (39.4%) have at least one of the above three services.

Advertising money is shifting accordingly, with TV advertising income down by 7% in real terms in 2017, while online advertiser-funded video was up 25% year on year, generating over £1bn for the first time (although around 30% of this total was from broadcast VOD players like All 4 and ITV Hub).

Subscription VOD, meanwhile, jumped 35% in 2017 to reach £895m, as the same time as pay-TV subscription revenues dropped by 2.7% in real terms to £6.4bn.

Sourced from Ofcom; additional content by WARC staff