Live TV viewing in the UK has increased by 1% year-on-year following a four-year decline in share of usage, according to the latest bi-annual Mediabug report from the media consulting firm Decipher. The data is based on an online consumer survey of 3,000 UK consumers and reports on how new technology is impacting media consumption. Since the study began (four years ago) the survey has recorded live TV viewing in decline. After the 1% rise it now accounts for a 72% share of long-form viewing against other activities such as PVR recordings, SVOD viewing and online film rentals. ‘Live’ has gained share at the expense of online catch-up and PVR viewing, Decipher reports.
Meanwhile the survey suggests that films have been overtaken by TV dramas from the UK as the type of VOD most accessed via the set-top box. 34% of the UK watched a UK TV drama in the last month, versus 32% watching a film. U.S. TV dramas also continue to grow, rising 2% to 25%. “These results appear to reflect the recent popularity of high quality TV programming and its usage as an appealing in-home consumption format,” Decipher says.
The latest release of the Mediabug survey series also shows a decline in the use of the PC and game consoles for online VOD viewing (from 26% to 21% share of all online VOD viewing for PCs/laptops and from 15% to 13% share of total online VOD viewing for consoles). More time is being spent watching OTT VOD via low-cost streaming devices like Amazon Fire Stick, Roku and Google Chromecast instead, which are driving viewers to the television screen for their online VOD viewing.
The most significant uptake in the streaming devices was for the relatively new Amazon Fire TV Stick, which saw claimed ownership increase from 2% to 6% of online consumers – representing roughly 1.4 million homes (projected from the sample). The larger and more expensive Amazon Fire Box (similar in size and shape to Apple TV) sold 450,000 devices over the same period, Decipher says.
And having previously reported a slowdown in the uptake of services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and NOW TV, Wave 8 of the Mediabug surveys has shown that this was short-lived and that take-up of new devices (like the streaming boxes) was a significant factor in the turnaround.
The return to growth for this online/SVOD category means that now 30% of online UK consumers claim to have an SVOD subscription, up from 23% in Q1 2015. Netflix is still the main provider with 23% of online consumers now claiming to have a subscription. Amazon Prime Instant Video saw its claimed subscriptions rise by five percentage points since Q3 last year to 13%, and NOW TV subs grew by two percentage points and is now at 6%. Having launched last November, DisneyLife appears in the SVOD figures for the first time with 2% of the survey claiming to have a subscription.
iTunes remains the leading ‘download-to-own’ provider at 12%, although the Mediabug figures have shown little growth in the reach of this service since 2013. iTunes competitors are closing the gap, with gains from Google Play, Amazon, Sky Store and Sky Buy & Keep. Sales of ‘download to own’ formats via Amazon Instant Video recorded the biggest rise, with a 3% point growth year-on-year. The new ‘BBC Store’ download-to-own service debuted in the six months ahead of this survey and there was a claimed use from 2% of the online UK population (as sampled by the survey).