Half of British homes subscribe to a TV streaming service

Half of British homes subscribe to a TV streaming service

LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly half of British homes subscribe to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or Disney Life, as traditional TV viewing continues to decline, according to media regulator Ofcom.

Some 13.3 million households – 47% of the total – were signed up to the most popular services, up from 11.2 million in 2018, Ofcom said on Wednesday.

The figures underscore a dramatic shift in viewing patterns in less than a decade as the streaming companies take market share from traditional broadcasters like the publicly-funded BBC and commercial leader ITV.

Viewers still spent 70% of their viewing time with broadcasters like the BBC and ITV, Ofcom said, but they were watching 50 minutes less traditional TV each day than in 2010.

The shift was most pronounced among people aged between 16 and 24, whose viewing of traditional TV had halved in that time, it said.

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

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

Netflix was the most popular streaming service, with 11.5 million subscribers in Britain in the first quarter of 2019, Ofcom said, while Amazon Prime Video had 6.0 million and Now TV had 1.6 million.

Average daily viewing on streaming services rose by seven minutes last year to 26 minutes, Ofcom said, while viewing of video sharing platform YouTube increased by six minutes to 34 minutes.

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