Half of adults streaming video in UK, US

adults streaming video
"Adults streaming video" used to mean "young adults." Not anymore

Two new studies show that adoption of streaming video continues to grow across demographics in the United Kingdom and the United States, with half of adults streaming video content in each market.

In the UK, telecom regulator Ofcom – in its Media Nations report – said more than 13.3 million households now have at least one streaming service, compared to 11.2 million a year ago, and more than half of all households have at least one TV connected to the Internet.

Ofcom said about half of UK households now subscribe to at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, with Netflix leading in subscribers at 19.1, up 26% since Q1 2018, followed by Amazon Prime at 6.0 million (up 23%) and Now TV at 1.6 million, up 11%). Additionally, UK adults watch, on average, about half an hour of YouTube per day.

Ofcom also noted that eight in ten adults have a smartphone, which they are increasingly using to watch video.

On average, UK consumers watched about five hours of video a day in 2018, but just 3 hours 12 minutes of it was broadcast television. About 56% of all video viewing was live TV. Overall broadcast TV viewing was down 49 minutes over 2012, with all ages (but 75+) seeing declines.

As usual, the biggest declines were among younger users. Both 4-15s and 16-24 watched just half as much broadcast TV (77 mins and 85 mins. respectively) in 2018 as they did in 2010. Viewing also declined among 25-34s (-39%), 35-44s (-34%), 45-54s (-20%), 55-64s (-11%), and 65-74s (-3%). Only viewers 75 and over watched more broadcast TV, increasing 3% from 2010 to 2018.

About 40% of viewers now say online video services are their main way of watching television and film.

US adults streaming video at growing rate

In the US, meanwhile, Nielsen reports that 40 million more adults streamed video in 2019 than in 2017, as 56% of adults are now streaming video, up from 40% in 2017.

And, notes Nielsen, nearly 85% of homes now have an enabled Internet-connected device or smart TV, up from 59% a year ago and 51% in 2017.

Streamers tend to be younger, are 1.6 times more likely to have kids, have incomes 1.5 times that of non-streamers and are 1.4 times as likely to be college graduates.

As of May 2019, during a typical day that an adult streams video, they spend about two hours doing it, regardless of age. 18-24s watch 131 minutes, 25-54s watch 126 minutes and those 55 and older watch 119 minutes.

The bottom line

Only a few years ago, it was primarily young adults streaming video, but that’s changed as more content has become available through subscription- and ad-supported sites. And, as most content owners know, those segments are gaining viewers at the expense of traditional broadcasters.

The streaming expansion is a global phenomenon, with mature markets like the US and UK seeing rapid growth as it trickles – more like pours – into demographics that less than five years ago were considered “safe” by broadcasters and cable networks. For emerging markets, that transition will happen just as quickly in the next couple of years.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn