Key Points from the 2019 Ofcom Media Nations Report

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Ofcom’s second annual Media Nations report was published earlier this month reviewing key TV, audio and online video sectors and we’ve highlighted the key findings below so you don’t have to read the whole thing!


·         The UK becomes a nation of streamers – Just under half (47%) of UK households subscribe to online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or Disney Life.

·         Traditional TV is still valued and accounts for 70% of TV time– People watched a daily average of 3 hours and 12 minutes of broadcast TV in 2018. This could be because the UK’s public service broadcasters show more than 100 times more original, UK-made shows than the overseas streaming giants, which have mainly US productions that are created to play out across multiple countries.

·         There are more SVoD subscriptions than pay-TV subscriptions – Traditional pay-tv services such as Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk totalled 14.3 million in Q1 2019 whereas the total number of UK streaming subscriptions rising by a quarter in 2018, from 15.6m to 19.1m. This is perhaps because many households subscribe to more than one service.

·         Broadcasters are adapting to changing viewing behaviours to attract younger viewers using SVoD – All episodes of series 1 (2018) and series 2 (2019) of the BBC’s Killing Eve were made available as a box set on BBC iPlayer immediately after the broadcast of the first episode. 4.6 million people watched the final episode of series 1 online pre-broadcast compared to 3.3 million who watched the episode live. Other programmes are gaining viewers on other devices and integrating broadcast content with social media. One episode of ITV2’s Love Island in 2018 achieved an increase of 24% on its TV set audience with viewers watching on PCs/laptops, tablets and smartphones, bringing its total to 4.9 million viewers.


·         Live radio remains popular – In Q1 2019, 89% of UK adults listened to at least five minutes of live radio each week. This varies by age: 90% of over-64s listened each week compared to only 80% of 15-24s (down from 88% ten years ago).

·         Commercial radio revenues remained resilient – Total revenues remained the same year on year, as increases in both national advertising and sponsorship offset a fall in reported local advertising revenues.

·         Digital listening continues to grow – DAB remains the most commonly used digital radio platform, but smart speakers continue to grow in popularity – listening to the radio on a smart speaker increased from 10% of adults in 2018 to 19% in 2019 and 20% of UK households now own a smart speaker.

·         Local radio has gradually been losing out –  In Q1 2019 just over half of adults (54% compared to 59% five years ago) listen to local radio and 73% (70% five years ago) listen to national output. Local commercial radio stations are spread across the age spectrum and BBC local services largely have older listeners.

·         Podcasts are increasingly popular – 1 in 8 adults now listen to podcasts each week and the average listener is around ten years younger than a typical radio listener.

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