Young people now watch almost seven times less TV than over-65s, according to a report by regulator Ofcom, cited by the BBC.
According to Ofcom’s report, 16 to 24-year-olds spend just 53 minutes a day watching TV, a drop of two-thirds over the past 10 years.
At the same time, those aged 65 and over spend an average of just under six hours a day watching television.
This “generation gap” in viewing habits is wider than ever, according to Ofcom’s annual Media Nations report.
What are the alternatives to television?
It attributed the gap to the use of alternatives to television, such as streaming services and short-form videos.
In its report, Ofcom stated that around one in five UK homes have access to all three major streaming services – Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
It said 5.2 million homes now have access to all three, which would cost around £300 a year if they paid for them individually.
However, the report states that the figure includes free tests and people sharing accounts between households.
The number of households subscribing to streaming services has fallen
Ofcom also found that overall the number of households subscribing to at least one streaming service fell by 350,000. He blamed pressure on household budgets as a result of the rising cost of living.
But it found in a survey of people who canceled their services that three-quarters of them planned to renew their subscriptions when their situation changed.
“The streaming revolution is widening the generation gap when it comes to television, creating a clear divide in the viewing habits of young and older people,” said Ofcom’s director of market intelligence, Ian Macrae.
“Traditional broadcasters face tough competition”
“Traditional broadcasters are facing stiff competition from online streaming platforms, which they are responding to in part through the popularity of their own streaming apps, while broadcast television is still the place to go for the big events that bring the nation together, like it would be the Euro final or the Jubilee celebration,” he added.
In 2021, Ofcom found that screen time – the average amount of time people spend watching video content across all devices – reached a daily average of five hours and 40 minutes. This fell by 25 minutes in the latest figures, which found that on average people spent 59% of their screen time watching live or catch-up TV.
A third of UK adults watch short videos
Meanwhile, a third of UK adults watch short videos – or videos of less than 10 minutes – and 65% of 18-24 year olds watch them daily.
This figure is much higher for the younger audience, with 93% of 15-17 year olds watching YouTube short videos daily, 90% on Instagram and 73% on TikTok.
The report also looked at the type of short videos people watch online and found that ‘how to’ content – such as recipes or DIY – is the most watched.
About 59% said they watch online short news videos, 32% said they watch videos about video games, and just over half of adults surveyed said they watch videos posted online by friends and family.