April 24, 2024

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An unprecedented fall in broadcast TV viewing is reported by Ofcom.

The latest Ofcom report highlights a significant drop in weekly viewership for broadcast TV, marking its most substantial decline on record. With public service broadcasters and streaming platforms contending for viewer focus, the proportion of people engaging with traditional TV weekly has decreased from 83% in 2021 to 79% in 2022, according to Ofcom’s findings. Simultaneously, the average daily time spent watching broadcast TV per individual has fallen from two hours and 59 minutes in 2021 to two hours and 38 minutes in the following year.

Noteworthy is the Ofcom Media Nations 2023 report’s emphasis on the continuing influence of public service broadcasters (PSBs) on the UK’s most-watched content. Despite the ongoing decline in traditional broadcast TV viewership, BBC One and ITV1 remain the top two choices for viewers, with Netflix securing the third position.

Viewers appear to acknowledge the ability of PSB channels to deliver “broadcast events that bring the nation together for a shared viewing experience,” with “England’s FIFA World Cup” quarterfinal, the State Funeral of the Queen, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee occupying the top three spots in the list of most-watched 2022 UK programmes. Moreover, the video-on-demand services of PSBs, such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX, continue to expand.

According to Ofcom’s research, only 48 programmes managed to average more than four million TV viewers on streaming platforms in 2022, with Netflix being the major contributor. The research also points to a substantial decrease in average broadcast TV viewing among the core older audience aged 65 and above as they increasingly turn to streaming services.

Yih-Choung The, the group director of strategy and research at Ofcom, commented on the evolving landscape: “Viewers and listeners today have an abundance of broadcasting and online content options to choose from, leading to heightened competition for our attention. Traditional broadcasters are witnessing sharp declines in scheduled, live programme viewership—even among typically loyal older audiences—and the appeal of soaps and news programmes is waning in terms of mass audience allure.”

Despite these challenges, the report asserts that PSBs maintain their unparalleled ability to unite the nation during culturally and sports-significant moments, while their on-demand platforms are experiencing positive growth as they adapt to audience preferences through digitalization.