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.