Should the TV industry be worried about Netflix and Amazon?

British TV content is a big deal these days. Just ask Netflix and Amazon, with new reports revealing how the two giants of the subscription video-on-demand world spent a combined total of £150 million on UK productions last year.

Whilst this represents a relatively small percentage of total money spent on British TV content in 2017 – with the likes of the BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 spending much more – it’s clear that the cord-cutting aspirations of the SVOD heavyweights are here to stay. So, how alarmed should the TV advertising industry be? Here are three reasons why the panic button can be left alone.

Brits still love TV

Perhaps the biggest threat to broadcast TV’s iron grip lies in the investment made by Netflix and Amazon in quality TV dramas. The likes of The Crown, House of Cards and Stranger Things have certainly left their marks over the past couple of years, and yet, for all the lyrical that’s been waxed, SVOD services still account for just 6.4% of an individual’s video day. Live TV, on the other hand, takes up 56.4% of our time.

Granted, variances are detectable by age group. 16-34 year-olds, for example, are spending 12.6% of their video day on subscription streaming sites – though live TV is still ahead on 33.1%. In general, TV viewing per adult remains stable, with the average person watching 3 hours 42 minutes of television a day. Again, this drops to 1 hour 55 minutes for younger viewers, but a point to make here is that TV is still extremely effective when used in conjunction with online platforms such as YouTube, VOD and social video.

Passive enjoyment still demands its place

Why do we watch TV? Quite often, it’s a matter of switching on to switch off. Whether it’s to relax after a stressful day at work, zone out after the night before, or to wind down after the kids have gone to bed, TV remains the go-to place for mental rest.

Flicking through the EPG in a semi-attentive state is part of the passive enjoyment we get from TV. And, perhaps most importantly of all – especially considering the fact one adult watches 42 TV adverts per day – it’s also the time for browsing the internet, Tweeting and texting.

Sure, we’re also partial to a boxset binge on Netflix or Amazon. Yet this always feels like more of a commitment; an acknowledgement that time and energy is going to be invested in immersing yourself in another world. Often, we just want to flop onto the sofa and avoid anything that requires too much concentration.

Live TV brings us all together

Not all TV viewing is passive, however. Us humans love to feel like we’re part of something bigger. Belonging to a group brings security and social enrichment; we thrive off connections with other humans and will often follow the herd to find them. And TV is the alpha herder.

Whether its tuning in to a live sports event, the latest episode of Downtown, our favourite Saturday night talent show or Love Island, we simply must be a part of the conversation. TV gives us something to talk about online, in the office or over drinks. It fuels debate and invites active participation.

Netflix and Amazon cannot offer the same national ‘moments’: there’s no single schedule to bring us together, and no exciting buzz in the lead up to the next episode. On the contrary, binge viewing is a solitary activity prone to ruin when the experience is shared. A bit of banter during Mindhunter? Leave. Please leave now.

Still unsure if TV’s for you? Our experts would more than happy to help you find the right media mix for your brand. Contact us today.