Subscription TV viewing in UK almost doubled in 2015

Subscription TV viewing has nearly doubled year on year but still only accounts for 4 per cent of total video watched in the UK, according to new figures compiled by Thinkbox.

Subscription TV viewing in UK almost doubled in 2015

The marketing body for commercial TV has reported figures for viewing across all devices for the first time.

Subscription video-on-demand viewing – comprised of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other services – has grown, accounting for 4 per cent of total video, up from 2.3 per cent in 2014.

The average viewer watched TV for a total of three hours and 51 minutes last year – down 1 per cent year on year.

For the average viewer, Thinkbox says, three hours and 47 minutes of television was watched on a TV set in 2015, compared to four minutes on other devices, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops. 

Younger people in the 16-24 age group watched TV for an average of two hours and 24 minutes a day in 2015 – two hours and 14 minutes on a TV and 10 minutes on other devices. 

Thinkbox has previously reported only the UK industry standard measurement for TV viewing – viewing on a TV set within seven days of the original broadcast, as measured by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board – together with streaming data from the UK Broadcasters for TV viewing on other devices.

But Barb’s figures now show that an increasing amount of viewing on a TV set now falls outside standard measurement; an estimated 6.5 per cent of all TV viewing in 2015 fell outside the industry standard. Among 16-24-year-olds this increases to 14 per cent.

The latest Thinkbox report calculates how the average person’s video day breaks down by combining ComScore figures with Barb data, broadcaster VOD stream data, Rentrak box office numbers and calibrating this metered/census level data with the IPA’s Touchpoints study (real time, single source diary data from 5,000 people in the UK).

The figures estimate that the typical UK viewer watches video for four hours and 35 minutes a day on average, up by 15 minutes on 2014, when Thinkbox first analysed total video time.

TV viewing (live, playback or on-demand across all screens) had a 76 per cent share of total video viewing in 2015. This share is down from 81 per cent in 2014. In 2015 the average person in the UK watched three minutes less TV a day than in 2014, the report says. 

In the UK, YouTube has grown as a proportion of total video in the last year, up from 3.5 per cent in 2014 to 4.4 per cent in 2015. Online adult video also accounts for 4.4 per cent of total video, down from 4.6 per cent in 2014.

Video viewing on Facebook accounted for 2.2 per cent of total video in 2015, while all other online video, such as Vimeo and newspaper and magazine, accounts for 5.8 per cent. Year-on-year comparison data for Facebook and all other online video is not available as they were not looked at separately last year.

DVDs accounted for 3.8 per cent of video in 2014 but fell to 2.9 per cent in 2015.

Lindsey Clay, the chief executive of Thinkbox, said: "TV has expanded in recent years into new times and places; the way we watch TV is changing. We need to show as accurate a picture as possible of how much TV we are watching – and where TV sits in the emerging video world. With so many different forms of video out there it can be confusing so it is important to get a grip on what is really happening. 

"These new figures show that TV dominates the video world for all age groups. Today’s young people watch on-demand forms of video more than the generations before that didn't grow up with them. This makes sense as they do not tend to have control of the TV set and so turn to their personal screens to watch what they want. What is remarkable is that in the last decade, when so many new technologies and services have arrived that could have disrupted TV, TV viewing has remained so dominant."



Become a member of Campaign from just £88 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content