Linear TV Viewing Down as Online Long-Form Viewing Time Increases

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With online long-form and social media video viewing increasing beyond the previous year’s boom in viewing time, new research from Omdia shows that nonlinear viewing continues to acquire more significant predominance in the everyday viewing habits of TV users across the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Cross-platform viewing time by country 2021

According to Omdia’s new Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report – 2022, the average daily viewing time across all the markets studied was 362 minutes per person per day in 2021 (6 hours and 2 minutes), down 0.5 percent from the previous year. This slight decrease in viewing is attributed to declining linear TV, online short form, and pay TV VoD, with the former experiencing the sharpest declines. However, rising online long-form and social media video viewing offset these declines, resulting in a mere 2-minute decrease in overall viewing.

The elimination of the limitations and lockdowns that characterized the majority of 2020 was the main reason for the decline in linear TV viewing time, while the ongoing shift toward on-demand viewing also contributed. This occurred in all markets in 2021.

Rob Moyser, a Senior Analyst in Omdia’s TV & Online Video team, commented, “in highly developed markets such as the US and the UK, 2021 will likely be the last year where linear TV predominates over non-linear TV viewing. On a platform-by-platform level, however, linear TV remains the most popular way to watch TV in the markets covered.”

All markets saw significant online growth, primarily fueled by the introduction of numerous new OTT services, including Discovery+ and Paramount+, and several established online subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Long-form viewing increased overall by 8 minutes, clocking in at 68 minutes, 8 minutes longer than social media video viewing.

In 2021, the average time spent per person per day watching videos on social media platforms increased by 9 minutes across the nine markets evaluated, reaching 60 minutes. The platform TikTok, expected to surpass Facebook in terms of total time spent for the first time in 2022, was the outstanding performer for video growth during the year.

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The copyright-free images used in this blog post are from Pexels. Cover photo by Jeshoots.

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