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UK: Young adults are watching broadcast TV seven times less than over 65s

Someone watching TV

The communications regulator, Ofcom, has revealed that young adults, those between the ages of 16 and 24, watch TV seven times less than over 65s in the UK. The elderly spend about a third of the time they’re awake watching broadcast TV, while young adults spend just 53 minutes watching each day.

Ofcom’s data about how much broadcast TV is viewed each day by different age groups goes back to 2011. Over 65s spend slightly longer in front of the TV than they did in 2011, but every other age group has seen declines. The younger the age group is, the sharper their viewership seems to decline. Young adults, for example, were watching 165 minutes of TV in 2011, but this has declined to 53 minutes. The 24-35 group has also seen its viewership decline from 196 minutes to just 90 minutes. Over 65s increased their viewership from 347 minutes to 350 minutes.

According to the regulator’s Media Nations 2022: UK (PDF) report, adults between 16-34 spent much more of their screen time-consuming subscription-based video on demand content and YouTube. In total, this cohort spends 281 minutes in consuming content from screens throughout the day, but just 30% of this is broadcast content. Apparently, people in this group spend 29 minutes playing video games each day.

In the UK, the most popular subscription video on demand services as of Q2’22 were Netflix (60%), Amazon Prime Video (46%), Disney+ (23%), NOW (7%), and Apple TV+ (6%). Overall, subscriptions to these services fell by just 1% in all during the second quarter as people’s incomes get squeezed by higher energy and food prices.

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