Linear TV Viewing Down as Online Long-Form Video Viewing Rises

(Image credit: VAB)

LONDON—New research on viewing habits in the U.S., Australia and select European markets shows ongoing declines in the time spent viewing linear TV, short-form online and pay TV VOD coupled with increases in the average viewing times for online long-form video and social media video, according to Omdia. 

Omdia's new Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report – 2022 finds that across all the markets covered average total daily viewing time reached 362 minutes per person per day in 2021 (6 hours and 2 minutes), down 0.5% on last year. 

Declines in linear TV, online short form and pay TV VOD account all declined, with linear TV seeing the sharpest declines, but growth in the time spent viewing online long-form online and social media video made up for most of the declines, leaving overall viewing to drop by just 2 minutes, the researchers reported. 


(Image credit: Omdia)

Linear TV viewing time decreased in all markets in 2021; the ending of restrictions and lockdowns that marked most of 2020 was the primary cause, with the continual shift toward on-demand viewing also driving this, Omdia said. 

"in highly developed markets such as the US and the UK, 2021 will likely be the last year where linear TV predominates over non-linear TV viewing,” explained Rob Moyser, a senior analyst in Omdia's TV & Online Video team. “On a platform-by-platform level, however, linear TV still remains by some distance the most popular way to watch TV in the markets covered."

Online long form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by incumbent online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, and the launch of several new OTT services such as Discovery+ and Paramount+. 

In total, long-form viewing grew by 8 minutes, reaching 68 minutes, 8 minutes ahead of social media video viewing.

Time spent viewing video content on social media platforms increased by 9 minutes in 2021 to an average of 60 minutes per person per day across the nine markets analyzed. TikTok was the standout performer for video growth during the year, with the platform set to overtake Facebook in total time spent for the first-time in 2022.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.