The shift in traditional television viewing

The shift in traditional television viewing

Becca Keenan December 1, 2023

Research released at the start of August 2023, notes that consumption of broadcast TV has dropped. Conducted by OfCom, their annual report in to viewing and listening habits has seen a steep decline in the number of programmes that attract mass audiences. Over the last 8 years, the number of programmes with viewers of more than 4m, has halved.

Declines are a reflection of fewer people watching the early and late evening news bulletins, combined with a steady decline in those watching soaps. In the last 9 years, news programmes that attracted audiences of over 4m have fallen 72% and soap audiences fell 42%.

Viewing habits are changing and in 2022, there was only 1 programme, in the top 5 reported, that wasn’t a live event – this was ‘The Tourist’. England’s World Cup Quarter Final was top, The Queen’s state funeral was second, followed by the Platinum Jubilee and ‘I’m a Celebrity…’

Streaming platforms weren’t far behind, with only 48 programmes watched, that averaged over 4m views and Netflix accounted for the vast majority. With a wide range of choices available on these platforms, the traditional viewing landscape has become a little fragmented. We have also seen a shift in older viewers diversifying their habits and taking up streaming services. There has been a 5% increase (from 7% to 12%) of those aged 54+ subscribing to services like Disney+.

BBC One and ITV1 are still viewers’ top two destinations for viewing and broadcaster content still accounts for the greatest proportion of all time spent each day viewing TV. This could be either live, on recorded playback or streamed on-demand. This figure sits at around 2 hours 41 minutes per person, per day. The importance of these broadcasters is strong and demonstrated by their VoD services. ITVX now accounts for 10% of all of ITV’s viewing and iPlayer has grown to 18%.

Whilst Public Service Broadcasters may have seen a slight decline in viewing figures, they are still unrivalled in bringing the nation together and digitalising their services to meet audience needs.

Teenagers and Young Adults have decreased their average daily broadcast viewing by 73% since 2012. 16-24 year-olds now watch less broadcast television than children aged 4-15, evidence suggests they are now only watching 1 or 2 live shows a day. Teenagers and Young Adults are now spending up to an hour a day on TikTok, 52 minutes on Snapchat, 48 minutes on YouTube and 25 minutes on Instagram.

So does this change how we plan and buy TV for our clients? Well, no, not really. We still actively recommend keeping linear TV on media plans (where necessary) as we’re able to reach c.79% of the adult population weekly. Just because linear viewing habits are changing, having fewer viewers doesn’t affect the number of people we are able to reach per campaign. It does make us approach the recommendation differently and bring into question the use of VOD platforms and whether more of the TV budget should be shifted to VOD or Connected TV as well.

Some clients will have more of a need for purely BVOD campaigns, whilst others will require a mixture of linear and BVOD. For some of our clients, we have also included Connected TV into the media plan, which has been a hugely successful platform for them. By using Connected TV, it allows us to target smaller audiences and those who are harder to reach via broadcast TV – however, it’s important to bear in mind that for a lot of advertisers, traditional routes are most effective in terms of metrics such as reach and Cost Per Thousand.

We also have to think about who the advertiser is and who they’re trying to target. An ultra-luxury car brand wouldn’t necessarily have a need to advertise on TV, due to the customer profile they are targeting, but an ‘everyday’ car brand would be ideal for linear/VOD/Connected TV.

So, whilst habits may be changing, our recommendations to keep TV and BVOD on plans remains strong.  It’s also worth noting that advertising on TV doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it’s not just for the big brands with the big budgets – it can also work for the smaller regional advertisers. Brands that are new to TV advertising can take advantage of incentives offered by the TV sales houses, which help to make testing TV easier and more cost-efficient, if you’re prepared to share the data.

If you’d like to talk to one of the team about potential TV advertising, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *