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How video looks

Everyone’s talking about video. And if they’re not talking about it, they’re probably watching it. And if they’re not watching it, they’re probably reading a fascinating, possibly life-changing, blog about it.

We can’t move for the moving image. With so much video at every turn, it can be confusing. Newness and hype can obscure the picture when it comes to understanding how much of the stuff we actually watch.

And things change quickly – too quickly for measurement to keep up.

So, in the absence of a single measurement source, Thinkbox has put the UK’s video viewing habits into context by combining a variety of recognised research studies.

We combined comScore with BARB data, Broadcaster VOD stream data, Rentrak box office numbers and calibrated this metered/census level data with the IPA’s Touchpoints study (real time, single source diary data from 5,000 people in the UK – not post-hoc claimed behaviour).

This approach has given us a good idea of how video consumption breaks down – and how it differs for younger viewers. Here’s how it looks and then I’ll explain what this means and see what the future holds:

Total video consumption UK 2015

Total video viewing has increased by 15 minutes a day

In 2015, the average person in the UK watched 4 hours, 35 minutes a day of video in all its different forms, an increase of 15 minutes a day since we first analysed total video time in 2014.

TV accounts for 76% of video time

TV – live, playback or on-demand across all screens – had a 76% share of total video viewing in 2015. This share is down from 81% in 2014; however this is set against the increase in the overall amount of video being watched. In 2015, the average person in the UK watched just 3 minutes less TV a day than in 2014. It is a slightly smaller share of a larger cake.

YouTube accounts for 4.4% of video and SVOD 4%

In the UK, YouTube has grown as a proportion of total video in the last year, up from 3.5% in 2014 to 4.4% in 2015. Online ‘adult’ video was also 4.4% of total video, down from 4.6% in 2014.

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) viewing – comprised of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other SVOD services – has also grown from 2.3% in 2014 to 4% in 2015. It is probable that a significant proportion of SVOD growth has come at the expense of DVDs, which accounted for 3.8% of video in 2014 but 2.9% in 2015.

Video viewing on Facebook accounted for 2.2% of total video in 2015, with all other online video – which ranges from that watched on sites such as Vimeo and newspaper and magazine websites through to the long tail of online video – accounting for 5.8%. I can’t tell you how Facebook and all other online video has changed year on year as they were not looked at separately in the 2014 analysis.

TV dominates young people’s video world

16–24s in the UK watched an average of 3 hours, 25 minutes of video a day in 2015, with TV accounting for 57.5% of the total. Live TV is their favourite form of video.

However today’s young people watch on-demand forms of video more than the generations before that didn’t grow up with them. In 2015, they watched over twice as much Broadcaster VOD as the average (7% vs. 3%), twice as much YouTube (10.3% vs. 4.4%) and twice as much SVOD (8.7% vs. 4%).

It is in light of the dominance of TV in their video diet that the move by youth brand Vice, which has had success with online video, into linear TV makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t a video business want to be on the main video platform?

Life stage influences our video consumption

No one has a crystal ball, but it is possible to glimpse what the future may hold. The IPA’s Touchpoints study shows the impact that life stage has on our viewing habits. Just looking at different ends of the millennials scale – so looking within the same generation – we can see the difference life stage makes. It shows that as millennials get older they watch less Netflix and YouTube, but more TV. When they have children this behavioural change is even more pronounced:

Life stage TP6
There are many reasons for this, from not having control of the TV set in the family home to the fact that young people’s space is limited, but their time is boundless and boredom can be an issue. Our ‘Truth about youth’ research uncovered how video fulfils a variety of needs for young people and how TV continues to play a crucial role.

So, that’s how we watch video now – and that is with 85% of the UK now having broadband access, 60% having pull VOD services on their TV and 71% carrying smartphones. In this context and with the evidence we have, it seems likely that this could well be the shape of things to come as well.

  • Matt Hill
    Matt Hill
    Research & Planning Director, Thinkbox
  • Posted under
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