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TV Dominates UK Viewing Habits, as Subscription VOD Services Gain Steam

Significant growth expected from subscription VOD services

The TV continues to exert a huge influence over UK consumers, with almost 25% of waking time spent in front of these traditional screens, according to July 2013 research from Deloitte. TV also drives 1% of UK GDP, and increasingly, a significant portion of these revenues come from subscription TV services.

Subscription digital TV services are seeing huge increases in participation in the UK, which is helping TV maintain its dominance of the media landscape, even as TV viewing habits keep evolving. Subscription video-on-demand (VOD) services, such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM, increased revenues by 167% to £160 million ($254 million) compared to 2012, according to Deloitte. Pay television gained the most market share among the various TV revenue opportunities between 2007 and 2012, growing from 24% to 31% of revenues in 2012.

Nonsubscription VOD services will see much more nominal increases, according to Digital TV Research, expected to grow by 14.2% between 2012 and 2018 and further testimony that subscription VOD content will be the key driver of TV viewing and pay TV growth.

Even as VOD content—both subscription and nonsusbscription—gains viewers, however, and offers alternative viewing options, UK consumers continue to prefer watching TV on physical TVs rather than laptops, tablets or other devices, according to May 2013 research from YouView. Across all age groups and among both genders, TV was the preferred device used to watch TV content by a wide margin. Younger viewers, unsurprisingly, were the most open to watching TV on other devices. In total, YouView found, UK viewers watched 16 hours of live TV, another 8.8 hours of recorded TV and a further 6.06 hours of catch-up TV on average per week.

Importantly for advertisers, UK consumers seem to believe in the efficacy of TV ads, even as their viewing habits move more in the direction of subscriptions services with limited ad opportunities. More than half of respondents to Deloitte’s study believed that TV ads were the most effective type of ad, at 52% of respondents, far ahead of newspapers, which ranked second and were seen as effective by 14% of respondents.


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