Almost half of homes in Wales now subscribe to TV streaming services, according to a major Ofcom report revealing rapid shifts in our viewing habits.
The number of households in Wales signed up to a least one of the main UK subscription streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life - increased from 515,000 (38.1%) in 2018 to 625,000 (45.8%) in 2019. As with the rest of the UK, Netflix is the most popular with 40% of homes in Wales now signed up.
While traditional TV still accounts for most TV time in Wales (80%) and remains the most popular place for people to keep up with the latest news and sport, viewing continued to decline.
In 2018, Welsh viewers spent an average of three hours and 33 minutes on a day watching broadcast TV – nine minutes less than in 2017.
The decline is even steeper among children and younger viewers in Wales. In 2018, youngsters aged 16-24 watched one hour and 15 minutes of broadcast TV a day, down by two hours a day from 2010 (-61%). This is a steeper decline than the UK average of -49% for this age group.
However, viewing to other services on the TV set – such as streaming services or and gaming increased by 10 minutes to an average of 54 minutes per person per day in 2018.
The findings are from Ofcom’s Media Nations: Wales 2019 report (PDF, 4.4 MB), a comprehensive study of major trends in television, radio and audio, published today.
Despite the rise in online viewing, television remains the most-used platform for news by people in Wales. Television channels make up four of the top ten most-used news sources in 2019, with BBC One and ITV Wales being the most popular overall.
Social media sites are also highly used for news in Wales; almost four in ten (38%) of people now say they use Facebook for news, while Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram also appear in the top 20 most-used news sources.
Top 20 sources of news in general in Wales: 2019
Today’s findings underpin Ofcom’s recently-launched national debate on the future of public service broadcasting – Small Screen: Big Debate.
This broad debate will involve broadcasters, production companies, governments, Parliaments, industry bodies, viewers’ groups and national and regional representatives on the wider questions around the future of public service media. Ofcom is playing a central role in driving this debate, drawing on a range of views, evidence and research.
By the end of the year, we will publish our assessment of the state of public service broadcasting, identifying areas of risk and potential opportunities.
Eleanor Marks, Director of Ofcom Wales, said: “The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach almost half of homes in Wales.
“But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play – particularly providing quality, trusted news for people in Wales. We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we’re leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting.”
Other key findings from the report include:
Figure 1: Top 20 most-watched programmes in Wales: 2018
Source: BARB. BBC Wales area, all individuals (4+). Reach criteria: 15+ consecutive minutes, full weeks used. The TVR (television rating) is the measure of the popularity of a programme, daypart, commercial break or advertisement by comparing its audience to the population as a whole. One TVR is numerically equivalent to 1% of a target audience.