Users of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have overtaken pay-TV subscribers for the first time.
A report by Ofcom released this week found that the number of households with a subscription to a streaming platform in the first three months of this year (15.4m), exceeded pay-TV homes by around 300,000.
In 2017, more than half (55%) of adults reported that they watched content on-demand.
Lindsey Clay, CEO of commercial TV marketing organisation Thinkbox, recently told the RTS, “There are new rules being written about live transmissions and binge viewing”.
While a shift to streaming platforms is evident in younger audiences, those aged 70+ are still watching scheduled programming. Almost 70% of people reported that they have specific programmes they watch regularly, suggesting that a completely “on demand” service is not entirely what audiences want, a fact is reflected in the comments of Simon Heath, CEO of World Productions, the company behind BBC hit Line of Duty.
He warned of the dangers of a binge watching market. “Serialised TV, where it’s about offering one episode a week, can build an audience.”
“The danger with a simultaneous box-set release and live transmission is that you lose word of mouth and, if the series doesn’t land with viewers, there is nowhere to go.”
However, while VoD may come out on top in entertainment and drama, Ofcom’s findings showed that TV is still most people’s first port of call for news, although social media is popular for those looking for an “alternative viewpoint”.
The study also found that ownership of TVs is also on the slide, with only 91% of households owning a television, compared to 93% in 2016.
While TV is still here to stay, it’s clear from this report that traditional viewing habits are changing and points to a very different media landscape in the future.