Living the stream

New IPA TouchPoints data exposes consumers’ evolving TV habits

UK consumers’ television patterns are continuing to evolve as technology, better connectivity, new platforms and channels deliver an ever-increasing choice of content, which they can access when and how they choose.

These trends are evidenced and quantified in the IPA’s comprehensive new TouchPoints data, launched on 12 September, that delivers an in-depth picture of consumers’ lives and their media use in 2019.

Consumers are spending less time watching television/video year-on-year

According to the data, the Great British population continues to consume more television than any other medium, watching an average of 4 hours 10 minutes per day in an average week. While this remains high, and with an ongoing reach of 99% of the population, the time consumers spend watching is down 3% year-on-year, vs 4 hours 19 minutes in 2018.

Consumers are increasingly watching television/video via a number of platforms

While there is a slight decrease in the time consumers are spending watching the television, there is an increase in the ways in which they are accessing TV/ Video content.

Watching TV live on a TV set is still the most popular way of viewing with 88% of adults watching in this way each week for 2 hours 59 minutes per average day, however, this is down 6% year-on-year. For 15 - 34s, 77% watch on a TV set for 1 hour 33 minutes per day, which is down 5% year-on-year.

Simultaneously, newer forms of viewing are attracting more consumers with 45% of adults watching paid-for on demand each week, up from 37% in 2018. They are watching this for 1 hour 11 minutes, up from 1 hour six minutes in 2018. For 15 – 34s the weekly reach for paid-for on demand video is 71%, up from 63% in 2018 and for 1 hour 22 minutes, up from 1 hour 14 minutes in 2018. Broadcaster Video on Demand is also growing share, albeit at a slower rate.

Popularity of paid-for on demand channels continues to soar

Paid-for on demand channels, also known as subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) has recorded healthy year-on-year increases in audiences, particularly for 15–34s-year-olds.

Netflix is now watched by 37% of all adults, up from 29% in 2018 and from 20% in 2017 – this marks a 28% and 85% percentage increase respectively. It is viewed by 63% of 15 – 34s, up from 54% in 2018. Hours of viewing have also increased, 1 hour and 4 minutes a day for all adults, up slightly from an hour and 2 minutes in 2018 and 1 hour and 13 minutes a day for 15 – 34s, up from 1 hour 9 minutes in 2018.

The audience is also growing for Amazon Prime, from 12% weekly reach for all adults in 2018 to 14% weekly reach in 2019. For 15 – 34s the weekly reach has grown from 17% in 2018 to 21% in 2019. Adults in 2019 are viewing for an average of 40 minutes a day and 41 minutes a day for 15 – 34s.

Meanwhile, the most popular Broadcast Video on Demand channel continues to be BBC iPlayer. It delivers the highest weekly reach for all adults of 27% and 29% for 15 - 34s who, on average watch for 22 minutes and 24 minutes respectively.

In terms of most popular live television channel, BBC One attracts the most viewers, reaching 73% of the population, who spend 1 hour 7 minutes on average watching per day. This falls to 52% reach for 15-34-olds who watch BBC One for an average 31 minutes per day.

More 15-34s watch TV/video content via their mobile phones

Trends regarding how consumer watch any TV/video content remain fairly static with 89% of all adults’ video consumption still via a TV set, very slightly down on 90% for 2018. The remaining video viewing splits between 4% on a laptop/pc, 3% on a mobile phone and 2% on a tablet. For 15 – 34s, only 72% of their viewing is on a television set (compared to 73% in 2018). 13% of their viewing is via a laptop, 10% via mobile phone and 5% via tablet.

New to TouchPoints this year, consumers were asked about whether they watch TV/Video via a small screen with at least one other person. This was measured at 19% for all adults for 23 minutes a day and 34% for 15-34-year-olds for 26 minutes a day. Adults with children in the household were also more likely to share their screen, standing at 28% for 23 minutes a day.

Peak times for TV and Video viewing remain between 20:30 and 21:00

The peak time for watching live TV on a TV set is between 20:30 and 21:00 in the evening with 32% of adults viewing on an average night. The most popular day for live TV viewing is Sunday night for all adults between 20:30 and 21:00, when 36% of adults are watching. Peak time for watching live TV for 15 – 34s is between 20:00 and 21:00 in the evening with 14% of them viewing on an average night. The most popular day for 15- 34s to be watching live TV is Monday evening between 20:00 and 20:30 pm when 16% of them are watching.

What this means

Says Belinda Beeftink, Research Director, IPA:

“Looking at the past few years, there is a real sense that we’ve reached a tipping point in how and why we consume media the way we do. Ultimately, there is only a finite amount of hours in a day for us to consume any media and so competition for our time is becoming ever fiercer, as is the choice of both the platform and the device on which we access it. Media content is now a “pick and mix” option, with a true combination of everything.

“As the nights draw in and the autumn schedules roll out, it will be interesting to see which new series grab our attention, alongside the ongoing breaking news on Brexit. What will become the next “Bodyguard” and will “Bake off” woo more of us this year than last? Equally, will Netflix original content line-up continue to triumph? There is no doubt that subscription model broadcasters are impacting the way we view, but how long will companies with large production budgets be able to continue with this model if subscriptions level off or decrease? What will be the impact of “Britbox”, due for launch later this year?

“The implication of all of this for advertisers is that it is more important than ever to understand the media landscape and how it is evolving.”

TouchPoints 2019 Launch Presentations


To access further information, visit the IPA website or join the conversation on Twitter #IPATouchPoints.

In addition to the launch of the 2019 IPA TouchPoints data, the IPA – in partnership with Facebook – has brought out a new report, Making sense – The commercial media landscape, which is based on 2018 IPA TouchPoints data. The report is designed to help planners and advertisers better understand the commercial media landscape.

Last updated 21 January 2022