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The TV and video viewing landscape in the UK has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. But even as digital video consumption comes to the fore, certain ingrained habits continue to influence the shape of the market, with traditional TV playing a central role in ushering in digital video services, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “UK Digital Video and TV: Traditional Viewing Habits Shape a Burgeoning Digital Landscape.”
Watching linear broadcast television (i.e., traditional TV) continues to be a popular pastime in the UK. And even though digital video viewing is becoming increasingly popular, such digital behaviors aren't necessarily eating into TV time by much. Rather, this type of viewing appears to be adding to an individual’s typical media day.
Traditional TV consumption accounts for the greatest amount of time spent with media in the UK. In 2016, UK adults will spend an average of 3 hours 8 minutes viewing TV content on a television set, eMarketer predicts. No other single media activity will come close to this figure. Although mobile media time is expected to surpass TV time next year—3 hours 12 minutes vs. 3 hours 6 minutes—this takes in not only different devices, but also different nonvoice activities, of which video viewing will be just one.
This device consideration is an important one because, despite the fact that many devices now account for video time, the television set remains the central actor in the video viewing activities of UK consumers. For example, September 2015 research from RadiumOne regarding the upcoming Christmas season found that Christmas TV viewing was likely to be dominated by the TV set. Fully 82% of UK internet users ages 16 and older said they would watch TV content via traditional means during the season; an even more striking 68% said they would watch such content via TV only, which included either a traditional or connected TV set.
Admittedly, Christmastime viewing is usually more communal than at other times of the year, so it makes sense to see an uptick in traditional TV viewing. However, a January 2016 report from Exterion Media found that UK internet users spent 77% of their total weekly TV time watching via the TV set as of February 2015.
But even in a country where the pervasiveness of TV—and the TV set—is so marked, there’s room for growth in digital video viewing. eMarketer estimates there will be 41.3 million digital video viewers in the UK in 2016, equivalent to 62.8% of the population.
eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.
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