Young view 27% less broadcast TV than five years ago, says Ofcom


Young people are watching 27% less broadcast television than they were five years ago as they turn to on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix, a new report shows.

Viewing of broadcast TV fell by more than a quarter among children and 16-24 year olds between 2010 and 2015, according to regulator Ofcom.

Younger viewers have instead embraced free or paid-for on-demand services - with a third of all TV viewing among 16-24 year olds now taking place via that medium, which includes the BBC's service, the ITV Hub and All 4.

Robin Wright (left) and Kevin Spacey attending the world premiere of House of Cards - Season 3 at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London.
Young people are turning to streaming services like Netflix, the home of House of Cards (Ian West/PA)

Viewing on paid on-demand services such as Amazon and Netflix has especially increased, rising 14 percentage points to 20% in two years, Ofcom's public service broadcasting annual research report said.

The regulator said viewing on TV sets has fallen substantially in the last five years, highlighting "a widening gap between the viewing habits of the youngest and oldest audiences".

Jay Duplass, from left, Judith Light, Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffmann and Amy Landecker, cast members in the Amazon original series
The cast of Amazon show Transparent (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Children were watching an average of 151 minutes of TV per day in 2010, but that fell to 111 minutes in 2015 - while 16-24 years olds were watching 160 minutes in 2010, which fell to 124 in 2015.

The decline was less the older the viewers got, and was largely unchanged among over-65s.

On average, UK viewers watched three hours and 36 minutes of measured broadcast TV a day last year, 26 minutes fewer than five years ago.