Ofcom Reports Major Increase in Screen Time

Media regulator Ofcom is reporting a significant increase in the amount of time spent watching TV. During April 2020, viewers spent an average of six hours and 25 minutes watching TV, an increase of 31% compared to last year.

Subscription streaming services saw an even larger increase, more than doubling to 1 hour 11 minutes in April 2020 each day, compared to 34 minutes the previous year.

It has also been reported that an estimated 12 million adults in the UK signed up to a new subscription streaming service during lockdown. 3 million of these had never used such a service before.

More statistics can be found in Ofcom’s Media Nations 2020 report.

Half of UK Homes Subscribe to Streaming Services

According to Ofcom’s Media Nations 2019 report, around half of all UK homes now subscribe to at least one online TV streaming platform. In 2018, there was a total of 19.1 million subscriptions, with many households subscribing to more than one services.

The UKs public services broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C) showed over 100 times more original, homegrown shows than the overseas streaming platforms.

Traditional viewing still accounts for around 69% of total TV viewing time, although this continues to drop. Despite the drop, public services broadcasters share remained steady at 52%.

Eleven Sports Hands Back Ofcom Licenses

Due to the UK leaving the European Union (EU), Eleven Sports has now licensed its continental channels elsewhere, as UK broadcast licenses can no longer extend to other parts of the EU when the UK leaves.

Eleven Sports has been unable to obtain any carriage agreements on satellite or cable in the UK, they no longer require their Ofcom licenses, so have handed them back to the regulator.

Eleven Sports remains available online in the UK at www.elevensports.uk.

BBC Submits Plans to Revamp iPlayer

The BBC has submitted to Ofcom plans to revamp their BBC iPlayer service. The proposals include making more box sets available, and making programmes available for up to 12 months instead of the existing 30 days. More archive material is also to be included on the iPlayer.

The BBC has already conducted a Public Interest Test, which has indicated general support for the proposals. Ofcom will now assess the impact on commercial providers which offer competing services, in order to ensure that rival services such as ITV Hub can compete on a level playing field. This process is expected to be complete by August.