- November 4, 2021

Comscore Connected TV: Viewing Behaviour in the UK


In the second instalment of Comscore Connected TV, we continue our comparison of OTT with linear TV viewing behaviour on TV screens in the UK. This time we take a measure of the growing importance of OTT in the average consumer’s daily TV diet.

Our analysis is therefore restricted to households with smart TVs – i.e. television sets with internet capabilities, which can access both traditional (linear) TV and stream OTT content. Moreover, we extend the period of analysis to cover the six weeks from Monday, August 30, 2021 up to and including Sunday, October 10, 2021.

In the first instalment of Comscore Connected TV (available here), we saw that over a four-week period in September 2021, just over half (or 52%) of all connected TV devices accessed both linear and OTT content; only a tiny minority (or 4%) accessed exclusively OTT content; and 44% accessed linear TV exclusively. We see a similar pattern in our trend analysis – summarised in both charts below: on any given day, approximately 10% of devices access exclusively OTT programmes, while 70% access exclusively linear TV programmes. However, the share of devices that are ‘linear-only’ appears to decrease gradually over time, to the benefit of ‘dual users’, i.e. those who access both linear and OTT programmes within a day. Note that a similar pattern emerges when we look at the share of total viewing time on any given day.

At first glance it seems that the share of OTT-only devices remains stable over time. In fact, this is not the case: indexing the data relative to a fix point in time, as we do in the charts below, shows that behaviours are shifting. While the share ‘dual users’ is indeed growing, so does the share of OTT-only viewers. These variations may merely reflect the success of blockbuster shows on OTT channels (Squid Games on Netflix, say) that were released in September 2021. Whether this then translates into consumers making the switch to OTT-only remains to be seen – if it happens at all.

TV consumption displays a weekly cycle: while the number of devices accessing TV programmes is relatively constant day after day, viewing time fluctuates significantly. Weekdays correspond to a period of reduced activity, while weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) correspond to increased activity. This pattern is more pronounced for OTT than it is for linear TV.

TV consumption also displays a daily cycle with evenings corresponding to peak activity – both in terms of number of devices and in terms of viewing duration. This applies to weekdays as well as weekends. (See charts below.) However, we see that linear TV fluctuates the most during the day, while OTT consumption is steadier. The reasons for this discrepancy are not immediately clear, although the ‘on-demand’ nature of most OTT content will undoubtedly contribute to the pattern. Another observation is that OTT consumption is similar during weekdays and weekends, while fluctuations in linear TV consumption are far more pronounced during weekdays than they are during weekdays. This is most probably due to the fact that for a large proportion of the population the working hours occur during weekdays, during which TV watching is limited.

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In this first episode we’ll provide some background on the disruptive growth of CTVs as well as kick things off with our first burning issue: Defining Connected TV.

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