Traditional TV viewing declines as internet users turn to streaming

The television landscape has changed dramatically in the past two years as Internet users have increasingly moved away from traditional TV, according to a report released by Ampere Analysis.

Based on proprietary consumer research involving 54,000 adults aged 18-64 in 28 markets globally, findings revealed that nearly half (45%) of internet users say they watch little or no Linear TV in a typical day. This marks a significant 22% increase from two years earlier.

As the growth of digital technology and streaming platforms accelerates, traditional television is struggling to maintain its audience. However, it’s not just the younger demographics that are shutting down. A staggering 35% of those who say they don’t watch linear TV were over the age of 45, up from 28% in 2017.

In contrast, more than half of internet users say they watch more than four hours of streaming TV content a day. The survey revealed a 4% increase from 58% in Q1 2021 to 62% in Q1 2023 in those who spend this significant amount of time-consuming Video on Demand (VoD) content.

At first glance, the decline in linear TV viewing appears to be a worrying trend for broadcasters as their traditional audiences begin to drift away. However, as increased engagement with broadcast-driven video services shows, if linear channels can continue to adapt and provide a strong OTT offering for audiences switching from scheduled TV channels, they have an opportunity to keep them, albeit on a different medium, said Minal Modha, director of research at Ampere Analysis.

However, the decline in linear TV viewership does not signal the end of traditional broadcasting. The report found that a steady number of internet users continue to tune into linear TV for major live events. Sports games, reality shows and high-end dramas remain significant attractions for audiences, and these pillars of content are advised to remain core components of acquisition and commission strategies for linear broadcasters.

While the shift to streaming is evident, broadcasters are not being left behind. In response to changing viewing habits, many have invested heavily in their VoD services. This strategy seems to be paying off. Engagement with these broadcast-driven streaming services has increased 26% since Q1 2023, demonstrating successful efforts by broadcasters to retain audiences.

The growing trend of ‘cutting the cord’, ie the abandonment of traditional pay-TV services in favor of Internet-based streaming services, has been particularly evident in the US, Canada and UK markets. These countries were among 28 markets examined by Ampere Analysis, which also included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and Turkey.


Also noteworthy is the decrease in high linear viewers, those who watch at least four hours of TV a day. This segment fell from 19% in Q1 2021 to 15% in Q1 2023.

Ampere’s report makes it clear that the face of TV consumption is changing. As Internet users increasingly opt for VoD services, broadcasters must continue to adapt their strategies to cope with this shift in viewer habits. They also need to recognize that certain key events and content pillars continue to draw audiences to linear TV.

However, as digital platforms continue to evolve and diversify, it remains to be seen how the relationship between traditional TV and streaming will play out in the future. Despite the challenges, the substantial growth in broadcaster engagement with streaming services offers a silver lining and a potential roadmap for future success in the ever-changing media landscape.

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