15th Jul 2018

According to a recent study, conducted by Hub Entertainment Research, television viewers are watching less live linear TV, preferring online video as their first choice. Data was gathered from 1,933 broadband-connected consumers who watch at least one hour of TV each week.

The study suggests that only 39% of the viewing public across all age sectors now go to live linear TV as their first option for consuming video, which is a pretty significant drop compared to last year’s figure of 47%.

More options for viewers

Viewers have more ways to watch video now than ever before with some of the larger and more popular platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon taking the lion's share.

The research highlights that viewers have an average of 4.5 different video options to choose in 2018, showing an increase from 2014, when it was averaging at 3.7 options. Although this may not first appear to be a significant change over four years, it does show that live TV is feeling the pinch.

It’s not just the young

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the younger generation that are affecting these figures. Interestingly, the trend is spread across all age groups:

  • 50% of adults 18 to 34 years old subscribe to two or more of the popular streaming platforms.
  • 44% of viewers in the 55 year and above age bracket are catching up and are moving from live linear TV to on-demand or DVR recorded video.

Does live linear TV have a future?

According to the study authors and organisers, the consensus is that live linear TV is fast becoming ‘a relic of times gone by.’ This is clear in the younger generation, who already consider streaming services, such as Netflix, their ‘TV home base,’ but now we see the older generation of consumer turning to on-demand first.

The implications for an already-volatile industry could be huge, according to the study results, and raises new questions in terms of content monetisation in general and other implications, such as ads delivery and the future positioning for live linear TV providers and vMPDs, who will need to step up their strategies if they want to stay in the running over the next few years.

All this could lead to a further ramp-up of live linear TV, but with whispers of even more potential options for viewers on the horizon in the near future, many industry professionals will be surprised if the trend in decline doesn’t continue.

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