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OTT Overtakes Linear TV on Global Stage, MiQ Reports

Watching TV
(Image credit: Comcast)

LONDON—OTT is now the leading source for watching TV and movies across the globe, according to a new report from MiQ. It took nearly a year into the pandemic, but OTT overtook traditional linear TV in the last couple of months of 2020, where practically all of the 2.2 million households that MiQ tracked for the report had an active OTT use based on normalized index (averaged consumption across households tuning in at least once over 45 days and a greater than 15 minute viewing time).

The data comes from MiQ’s “A Year of Lockdowns” report.

At the start of 2020, more global households were actively watching linear TV than for OTT, per MiQ. Those numbers actually dipped in February 2020 until spiking in the first two months of pandemic (March and April), increasing 25-30%.

In the summer months, after initial lockdown orders began to lift, active household numbers dropped for both linear TV and OTT, representing just an 11% year-over-year increase. However, starting in August, things started to pick back up again. 

OTT saw rapid, exponential growth when second waves began to hit, reaching a peak in November; that number stayed flat in December. As for linear TV, it’s numbers increased more slowly through November, before dropping again in December. Not only did OTT surpass linear TV in active households in November, it also saw people spending more time watching it.

(Image credit: MiQ)

The largest growth sector for OTT consumption is among people 35 and older, which grew 21%, as MiQ estimates that many are new to OTT. There was also growth in the 18-34 age group of 19%.

In general, when it comes to watching more TV, Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. had more people say they spent more time watching TV than they did a year prior. Germany had less, while India was just about even.

“It’s a safe bet that this new enlarged audience means marketers will need to rethink their profiles for OTT targeting in the future,” MiQ wrote in the report.

To access the full report, visit MiQ’s website.