Traditional broadcast TV viewing declines as internet users turn to streaming
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The television landscape has shifted dramatically over the last two years as internet users increasingly distance themselves from traditional broadcast TV, according to a report published by Ampere Analysis.
Based on proprietary consumer research involving 54,000 adults aged 18-64 across 28 markets globally, the findings revealed that nearly half (45%) of internet users claim to watch little to no linear TV in a typical day. This marks a significant 22% increase from two years prior.
As the growth of digital technology and streaming platforms accelerates, traditional broadcast television is struggling to retain its audience. However, it’s not just the younger demographics that are switching off. A surprising 35% of those who claim to watch no linear TV were over 45 years old – an increase from 28% in 2017.
In contrast, more than half of internet users say they watch more than four hours of streaming TV content daily. The survey revealed a four percent increase from 58% in Q1 2021 to 62% in Q1 2023 in those spending this significant amount of time consuming Video on Demand (VoD) content.
“At first glance, the decline in linear TV viewing looks to be a worrying trend for broadcasters as their traditional audience begins to drift away. However, as the increased engagement with broadcast-led video services shows, if the linear channels can continue to adapt and provide a strong OTT offering for audiences switching from scheduled TV channels, they have an opportunity to retain them, albeit on a different medium,” said Minal Modha, research director at Ampere Analysis.
However, the decline in linear TV viewership does not spell the end for traditional broadcasting. The report found that a steady number of internet users continue to tune into linear TV for key live events. Sports games, reality TV shows and exclusive dramas remain significant attractions for audiences and these content pillars are advised to remain critical components of acquisition and commissioning strategies for linear broadcasters.
While the shift to streaming is evident, broadcasters are not being left behind. In response to changing viewing habits, many have invested heavily in their own VoD services. This strategy appears to be paying off. Engagement with these broadcast-led streaming services has increased by 26% since Q1 2023, demonstrating broadcasters’ successful efforts to retain audiences.
The increasing trend of “cord-cutting,” or canceling traditional pay-TV services in favor of internet-based streaming services, has been particularly apparent in the U.S., Canada and UK markets. These nations were among the 28 markets that Ampere Analysis surveyed, which also included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and Turkey.
The decrease in high linear TV viewers – those who watch at least four hours of broadcast TV daily – was also notable. This segment dropped from 19% in Q1 2021 to 15% in Q1 2023.
Ampere’s report makes clear that the face of television consumption is changing. As internet users increasingly opt for VoD services, broadcasters must continue to adapt their strategies to accommodate this shift in viewer habits. They must also recognize that certain key events and content pillars continue to draw audiences to linear TV.
However, as digital platforms continue to evolve and diversify, it remains to be seen how the relationship between traditional broadcast TV and streaming will develop in the future. Despite the challenges, the substantial growth in engagement with broadcasters’ own streaming services offers a silver lining – and a potential roadmap to future success in the ever-changing media landscape.