New research by media regulator Ofcom suggests the number of subscriptions to streaming services such as NowTV, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has overtaken those to traditional pay television for the first time.
According to the regulator, the total number of streaming subscriptions reached 15.4 million in the first quarter of 2018, with the number of pay TV subscriptions standing at 15.1 million.
The findings are included in Ofcom’s Media Nations report and are based on survey data rather than official subscriber numbers and include households where there is more than one streaming subscription.
When multiple subscriptions are filtered out, the number of households taking a streaming service is 11.1m, 4m lower than the number taking a Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk or BT TV subscription.
Today’s report also estimates that the amount of time people spend watching broadcast content on a television has fallen by 38 minutes each day since 2012 and now stands at “an average of 3 hours 22 minutes a day.”
Total daily viewing across all devices stands at 5 hours one minute, of which two-thirds (three hours 33 minutes or 71%) was broadcast content, and 1 hour 28 minutes to non-broadcast content.
Ofcom warns that by spending more on original UK-made programmes, the BBC, ITV Channel 4 and Channel 5 could reserve this trend.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Today’s research finds that what we watch and how we watch it are changing rapidly, which has profound implications for UK television.
“We have seen a decline in revenues for pay TV, a fall in spending on new programmes by our public service broadcasters, and the growth of global video streaming giants.
“These challenges cannot be underestimated. But UK broadcasters have a history of adapting to change.
“By making the best British programmes and working together to reach people who are turning away from TV, our broadcasters can compete in the digital age.”