According to some research from Ofcom, 16-24 year olds in the UK watch seven times less broadcast TV than those aged 65+, who still have the box on for a third of the day.

To slice the data another way, Ofcom reckons people aged 16-24 spend less than an hour (53 minutes to be precise) watching broadcast TV in an average day, which is a drop of two-thirds in the last ten years.

Those aged 65 and over apparently still spend around a third of their waking day (or almost six hours) watching broadcast TV, which is actually slightly higher than a decade ago. Six in ten 55-64-year-olds and 76% of those aged 65+ turn to TV channels first, while by contrast nine in ten 18-24-year-old adults bypass TV channels and head straight to streaming, on-demand and social video services, with Netflix the most common destination.


There’s a muddle of statistical formats being employed here but you get the idea – those of a younger age are turning their back on traditional TV platforms while if anything the older generations are watching more of it.

Viewing figures clocked in at more than 10 million for the Women’s Euro 2022 final and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which makes the case that broadcast television is still the placer to go for big national events, but public service broadcasters continue to see both audiences and levels of viewing fall, we’re told.


“The streaming revolution is stretching the TV generation gap, creating a stark divide in the viewing habits of younger and older people,” said Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence. “Traditional broadcasters face tough competition from online streaming platforms, which they’re partly meeting through the popularity of their own on-demand player apps, while broadcast television is still the place to go for big events that bring the nation together such as the Euro final or the jubilee celebrations.”

Ofcom reckons around a fifth of UK homes (5.2 million) subscribe to all three of the biggest streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ – costing around £300 per year. Though it seems reasonable to predict that a few of those households might start having a look at those subs as the cost of living crisis rolls on, and wonder whether they really need to continue witnessing an endless procession of increasingly obscure superheroes discovering their powers, for example.


Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.