IS INTERNET STREAMING OVERTAKING LIVE TELEVISION?

Is the traditional way of watching television live being replaced by online streaming? I have been investigating how many people are choosing new technology over old.

There is no doubt that live television is dominated by BBC1, with an average 26.7 million people tuning in everyday throughout January 2018. ITV1 (15.9) and BBC2 (12.5) were second and third respectively.

Currently on average 44.7 million are watching television daily in the United Kingdom, which is an impressive 66.9 percent of the population.

Meanwhile time-shifted viewing has been slowly increasing and currently has a 14 percent share of live television.

Records of time-shifting began on the BARB website in 2006, when it was at only 1.2 percent.

Time-shifting means the series you have recorded, and then watched another day. Great examples are Freesat+, Freeview+ and Sky+.

Streaming Services are hard to judge, especially as there are so many illegal copies out there (such as Kodi). Though a recent study by Barb suggests Netflix is still streets ahead of Amazon Prime Video and Now TV (though Amazon is closing the gap, thanks to strong growth patterns). The study found more than 10.2 million homes are now streaming one of the three services.

Netflix launched in 2012 (UK), originally topping up on popular British shows and then producing series locally. Its most famous series currently is arguably The Crown.

2012 also saw the introduction of NowTV, a platform which offers 300 Box Sets on demand, access to 1000 films on demand and the ability to join pay television (like Sky Sports) without a contract.

Amazon Prime Video brought LoveFilm and gives user the option to buy or rent individual titles. Launching in 2014 (UK), their biggest gain so far has been The Grand Tour, thinking that Jeremy Clarkson and company could drum up subscribers.

Ofcom released evidence in 2017 that suggested younger viewers were turning off traditional television with a viewing time fall of 33%. Apparently the majority of the fall was due to the introduction of streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix. This is a real issue for children targeted channels such as CBBC and CBeebies.

Whilst 3.5 million people have cancelled their television license in the past four years, with just under 800,000 getting rid in 2017. This apparently means they no longer watch or record television as it is being broadcast. Though this is debatable, as they could easily be watching live TV illegally.

This is worrying the BBC especially, as they depend on the television license for their content. It's not entirely great for advert-driven live channels either, as surely it is only a matter of time until suppliers notice this trend.

Another recent survey from Zenith, suggests that the average person consumed 456 minutes of media. Television in 2016 was still getting viewers to watch an average of 170 minutes per day. The internet though continues to grow, with an average watching time of 140 minutes per day.

As this chart shows (which we found on Statista) - live television is still on top, but for how long?

When predicting the trends of 2018, Zennith suggested the gap could shrink to just 7 minutes by 2018 and completely disappear in 2019.

Conclusion - Internet streaming is certainly having an impact on how people view television series. Though will it kill live TV for good? Nah, we shouldn't have to worry about BBC, ITV, C4, C5 etc in the near-future. My only personal concern is for the smaller freeview and Sky channels. The majority of them already have quite low viewers, and they are ranking even worse since the launch of online players and services. Expect a small amount of them to shut down in the near future.

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Steven Broadbent
Site Manager at Telly Binge
Founder of Telly Binge, who loves to write about anything television! In my spare time I listen to radio, watch films, play football and build websites. From Doncaster, now living in Barnsley.

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