Broadcast TV’s decline worsens in UK as streaming subscribers fall too

The pandemic is effectively and really over with regards to impacting the UK’s media habits, as each broadcast TV viewing and streaming subscriptions have reversed after the Covid lockdown increase of 2020 and 2021.

Broadcast TV’s weekly viewers attain has suffered the steepest annual decline since information started, with older audiences each day viewing falling on the quickest price ever, Ofcom’s yearly report into UK media habits has revealed.

In the meantime, the variety of UK households utilizing a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service has fallen to 66% within the first three months of this 12 months, down from a peak of 68% in Q1 2022.

This 12 months’s Media Nations report means that the decline in conventional media behaviours isn’t just persevering with to fall, however drop ever extra precipitously as completely different generations transition from offline to on-line media channels.

The printed regulator’s report is a abstract of various information sources for UK media consumption in 2022. Here’s a snapshot of report’s findings.


The proportion of viewers who tune in to conventional broadcast TV every week has seen the sharpest ever annual fall — from 83% in 2021 to 79% in 2022.

BBC One stays the one channel to achieve greater than half of the viewing inhabitants each week.

Viewers spent 2 hours 38 minutes watching broadcast TV every day in 2022 — down 12% 12 months on 12 months.

Nonetheless, for the primary time, there’s proof of a major decline in common each day broadcast TV viewing amongst ‘core’ older audiences (aged 65+) — a drop of 10% 12 months on 12 months, and down 6% on pre-pandemic ranges.

In the meantime, older viewers seem like diversifying their viewing and extra more likely to take up streaming companies. The proportion of over-64s subscribing to Disney+, for instance, elevated from 7% in 2022 to 12% in 2023.

Nonetheless, general family take-up of those companies general seems to be plateauing, suggesting the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market is approaching a saturation level. Two-thirds (66%) of UK households reported utilizing a subscription video-on-demand service in Q1 2023, down from a peak of 68% in Q1 2022.

Netflix has additionally turn into the third-most widespread vacation spot for viewers once they activate their TV, though that is nonetheless a small minority of individuals (6%). BBC One (20%) and ITV1 are nonetheless the highest two first locations.

The variety of TV programmes pulling in additional than 4 million viewers has halved since 2014 to 1,184 final 12 months. The variety of programmes with giant audiences is down throughout all genres. Nonetheless, that’s nonetheless loads when in comparison with streaming platforms: solely 48 programmes averaged greater than 4 million TV viewers on streaming platforms in 2022, with Netflix accounting for the overwhelming majority.

There was a fair sharper drop (82%) within the variety of broadcast transmissions producing greater than six million TV viewers, from 1,172 in 2014 to 213 in 2022.

These declines are a mirrored image of fewer individuals watching the principle early- and late-evening TV information bulletins, in addition to a gentle decline in viewing figures for the UK’s three hottest TV soaps: Coronation Avenue (ITV1), EastEnders (BBC One)and Emmerdale (ITV1). Since 2014, information programmes attracting greater than 4 million viewers are down 72%, whereas mass viewers cleaning soap episodes are down 42%.

Nonetheless, watching broadcasters’ content material (both reside, on recorded playback or streamed on-demand) nonetheless accounts for the best proportion of all time spent every day watching TV and video (60%, which is 2 hours 41 minutes per particular person, per day).

In the meantime, the large broadcasters video-on-demand (BVOD) companies present sturdy progress: ITVX accounted for 10% of ITV’s whole viewing within the first half of 2023 (up from 7% throughout 2022), whereas BBC iPlayer rose from 14% of the BBC’s whole viewing to 18% throughout the identical time interval.

Matt Hill, analysis and planning director at business TV advertising and marketing physique Thinkbox, stated the figures confirmed how UK broadcasters “stay the bedrock of the nation’s media consumption”.

“The rebalancing between reside and on-demand viewing has been occurring for over a decade as individuals of all ages change how they watch TV,” Hill stated. “However what’s clear is that the broadcasters’ pedigree and experience in what UK viewers take pleasure in means they’re effectively positioned to thrive sooner or later.”

Social media

The newest obtainable information means that youngsters and younger adults at the moment are spending almost an hour per day on short-form content material app TikTok (a median of 58 minutes), however Snapchat can also be highly regarded with individuals aged 15-24 (common of 52 minutes), as is YouTube (48 minutes) and Instagram (25 minutes).

The information exhibits that short-form video content material lasting lower than 10 minutes is especially widespread, over two-thirds (68%) of 15-24s claiming to look at short-from movies each day (YouTube being the preferred vacation spot).


As in the present day’s Rajar radio viewers figures verify, Ofcom information present business radio is consolidating its lead over the BBC within the UK. At this time’s figures from Ofcom are already old-fashioned: it quotes business radio having a 51% market share as of the primary quarter of 2023; in the present day’s second-quarter Rajar figures reveal this share is considerably larger at 54.5%.

Nonetheless, reside radio continues to achieve the overwhelming majority of adults, with 88% of individuals tuning in for a median of 20 hours every week throughout digital, analogue and on-line platforms. Good audio system now account for 20% of in-home radio listening, whereas 21% of adults’ audio listening is to streamed music (which will increase to 50% amongst 15-34s).

Round one in 5 adults (20%) take heed to podcasts every week, with the rise largely pushed by listeners aged 25-44. Older teenagers and youthful adults, nonetheless, seem like turning away from podcasts, with weekly listening amongst 15-24s falling to simply beneath 22% (as of the primary quarter of 2023).

Yih-Choung Teh, group director, technique and analysis at Ofcom, described viewers and listeners of getting an “all-you-can-eat” buffet of broadcasting and on-line content material to select from and that media house owners’ competitors for his or her consideration has by no means been extra fierce.

He stated: “Our conventional broadcasters are seeing steep declines in viewing to their scheduled, reside programmes — together with amongst usually loyal older audiences — and soaps and information programmes don’t have the mass-audience pulling energy they as soon as had.

“However regardless of this, public service broadcasters are nonetheless unrivalled in bringing the nation collectively at necessary cultural and sporting moments, whereas their on-demand gamers are seeing constructive progress as they digitalise their companies to satisfy viewers wants.”

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