TV viewing among younger adults drops by two-thirds in a decade, over 65s now watch for...


Posts: 8,463   +104
Staff member
TL;DR: It's no secret that today's younger adults tend to opt for online content over traditional television, but the size of the fall in TV viewing time among 16 to 24-year-olds over the last decade might come as a surprise. It's a contrast to the over 65s, who have slightly increased their television viewing compared to 10 years ago.

Research from the UK's broadcasting regulatory authority, Ofcom, has highlighted the increasing generation gap when it comes to TV content consumption. It found that those aged 16 to 24 now spend an average of just 53 minutes per day watching broadcast television, marking a two-thirds decrease in the past ten years. People over 65, meanwhile, watch just under six hours, slightly longer than what this demographic recorded in 2012.

The widening gap between ages is down to the many TV alternatives available today, from streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ to online platforms that include YouTube and TikTok. Nine out of ten 18 to 24-year-olds said they opt for these destinations over TV.

A recent survey found that 95% of US teens used YouTube, while Facebook had become a much less popular option among that age group. Google's video platform was also the most popular service among 15- to 17-year-olds who participated in Ofcom's survey.

Ofcom's report also found that one in five UK homes had access to Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime, though that does include free trials and account sharing, the latter being something Netflix keeps trying to stamp out. However, the number of households subscribing to at least one service fell by 350,000.

The good news for the companies behind these services is that three-quarters of those who canceled said they plan to restart the subs when their circumstances change—the rising cost of living and household bills were cited as major factors behind them leaving the streamers. Specific shows also played a part in the decision. Many people sign up when their favorites are airing, such as Stranger Things or The Mandalorian, then cancel when the seasons are over.

Ofcom's report also found that the most common type of short-form videos people watched online was how-to content such as DIY guides and recipes. Around 59% of participants said they engaged with short news videos, and 32% said they watched clips about video games. As for the average amount of time people spent watching video content across all devices, that reached five hours and 15 minutes, almost a third of an adult's waking hours, writes the BBC.

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Posts: 943   +844
TechSpot Elite
Well yeah what do you expect? They're the generation that grew up with streaming services, they're in early years getting their lives off the ground, they may not have cable or TV packages, or may not be home in time to watch their favourite shows, or are more attracted to exclusive content coming to streaming services... take your pick.


Posts: 69   +45
Bah I haven't watched broadcast tv in over 10 years, over priced garbage content is all they produce along with federally sponsored fake news. [nor do I have my head glued to a phone.] its simple math in Canada. 100$ plus for cable or 10-30 $ for 100 times the programing from a few streaming services]


Posts: 3,932   +6,924
Why would anyone want to sit in front of the boob tube just to consume the digital equivelant of mcdonalds with more ads then air time, when I can get something made with passion, innovation, and directed at my interests, for free from youtube or other social sites? Why would I want to get outdated news from biased corporations when I can get hundreds of viewpoints, in real time, for free, from sources that dont have the resources to elaborately lie and cannot control oposing viewpoints or contradictory evidence?

And above all else why on earth would I want to pay hundreds of dollars per month for this trash?

Cable TV has been a rip off for decades and the underpaid overworked younger generation cannot justify its existence anymore.


Posts: 776   +485
As someone about to turn 65 I can say that the only "broadcast" TV that I watch is typically sports programming. And much of that is done in a bar setting or with friends. 6 hours a day? No way. Even with streaming services I don't watch that much TV per day. Who has the time for that?


Posts: 448   +237
I think many younger people play on consoles, late teens and twenty something's discover drink in bars and go out, using phones predominantly.
Then you have your working ages. Out and about. Maybe TV in an evening, but 65 year olds, especially through COVID lockdown etc use the TV more because they are alone and it comforts them.