Total cross-platform television viewing times across the U.S. and major European markets are declining as consumers increasingly turn to non-linear platforms as a substitute for traditional TV viewing.
Excluding social media, total average daily video viewing time for the countries analyzed stood at 273.7 minutes per-person per-day in 2018. This compares to a peak of 284.3 minutes in 2013, when linear viewing held an 87 percent share of total viewing in contrast to a 67 percent share in 2018.
The decline in minutes suggests a shift in viewing habits as non-linear becomes the television format of choice for more viewers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
“During previous years, non-linear television viewing was largely additive to traditional linear TV viewing, driving up the total number of minutes watched,” said Rob Moyser, research analyst at IHS Markit. “However, non-linear now has become an alternative for linear TV for many consumers. As a result, total cross-platform viewing time is returning to levels seen prior to the rise of on-demand viewing.”?
Long-form viewing gains
The type of non-linear TV that’s gaining the most popularity is online long-form video, typically defined as having a duration of 15 minutes or longer. Average viewing times for online long-form video expanded by six minutes per-person, per-day, year-on-year in 2018. Online long-form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by online subscription video services such as Netflix. Consumer research conducted by IHS Markit suggests that existing pay TV customers are more likely to subscribe to OTT video services with a growing preference towards online video players when looking for something to watch.
Social media continues to rise
Time spent on social video saw the highest level of increase, adding more than eight minutes per-person per-day. Only when growth in social video is added do we see total cross-platform viewing time increasing, with little evidence of social viewing being substitutional to linear TV.
When including social video viewing, total time spent on video viewing for the countries analyzed rose to 303 minutes per person per day in 2018, up from 299 in 2017. Facebook has driven most of this growth as it has increasingly moved towards a video-centric strategy across its social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
“Mobile devices have become a key area of growth in terms of video consumption, particularly out of the home, as data plans become more affordable and screen sizes increase,” said Fateha Begum, principal research analyst at IHS Markit. “Connected living room devices, however, present new opportunities for social platforms to reach wider audiences particularly as consumer appetite for short-form viewing improves”.
A total of 28 percent of adults across the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany cast video content from their mobile device onto a TV at least once a month, according to IHS Markit’s Consumer Research: Devices, Media & Usage survey conducted in November 2018. This total rises to 46 percent when looking specifically at viewers aged 18 to 24 years old.