Almost a third of the UK use streaming as their number one way to watch TV - report

Tyrone Stewart

Netflix TV remoteStreaming has become the primary way to watch TV programmes and films at home for 30 per cent of UK households, although more than half of those households still choose to mainly watch shows from the five traditional channels, according to research from EY.

The survey of 2,500 UK consumers found that the households getting most of their content from the traditional channels has actually increased to 51 per cent from 46 per cent in 2017.

“It’s no surprise the UK is becoming a nation of streamers, but our research shows just how enthusiastically households have embraced it. Over the next 12-18 months we will see the launch of new streaming services to further sate the UK’s appetite for content. In addition, younger age groups look to continue that trend with 63 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds believing they get better value from their streaming services than from pay-TV,” said Martyn Whistler, global lead media and entertainment analyst at EY.

“However, reports of the demise of traditional TV seem a little premature. Our research shows their popularity is undiminished, with viewers watching them more now than in previous years. The traditional channels are still the bedrock for household viewing and demonstrate the creative strength of the UK.”

Though traditional channels still enjoy a great deal of loyalty, the increasing mixture of services available is causing confusion. 24 per cent of households said they find it difficult to track content across services, platforms, and apps.

Meanwhile, consumer attitudes to advertising are reflected by the fact that streaming services are less reliant on ads. 38 per cent of households were found to be more willing to put up with ads on broadcast TV than on streaming services – a figure which increases to 54 pre cent for 18 to 24-year olds. Moreover, 18 per cent of households would be willing to pay to a premium to stream catch-up TV from traditional channels without ads at the ‘right price point’.

“Our survey demonstrates that audiences are struggling to keep track of their favourite content across various platforms and they are confused by the choices available to them. Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) companies need to move away from programme guides and big budget marketing and build artificial intelligence (AI) enabled recommendation engines to push content. This will improve user experience, reduce costs and maximise assets,” said Praveen Shankar, head of technology, media and telecommunications for the UK & Ireland at EY.

“In addition, content providers need to stay focused on their audience. Customers vary significantly in how they consume content, so personalising experiences through data and insights is paramount. Only a deeper understanding of preference can ensure that content companies are able to unlock premium services and enable them to be strategic in how they invest in, utilise, price and bundle technologies together to reach audiences in the home.”