Full stream ahead: Brits spend a third of 2020 watching TV and video
Aug 9, 2021
05 August 2021
UK streaming subscriptions soar by 50% to more than 30 million during pandemic
Netflix more popular than pay TV for the first time
Broadcast TV loses viewing share – but live sport, drama and news pull in big audiences
UK adults sought solace in screens and streaming in 2020, spending a third of their waking hours watching TV and online video content, according to Ofcom’s annual study of the nation’s media habits.
With people across the UK under some form of lockdown restrictions for most of last year, more than 2,000 hours of it were spent watching TV and online video content. That’s a daily average of five hours and 40 minutes - 47 minutes more than in 2019.1
The change was mainly driven by people spending almost twice as much time watching subscription streaming services (one hour and 5 minutes per day) such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.2
All UK adults
UK subscriptions to streaming services climbed by over 50% last year to reach 31 million, up from 20 million in 2019. This meant that, by September 2020, three in every five UK homes (60%) were signed up, compared to 49% a year earlier.
More than half of UK households (52%) have taken out a Netflix subscription – meaning its customer base exceeds that of pay-TV providers combined for the very first time (48%).3
The main streaming services gathered an estimated £2.11bn in UK revenues during 2020 – a 28% increase in real terms on 2019’s £1.66bn – and more than double their revenues in 2017 (£1.03bn).
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