Lead Forensics

Unpicking the Media Nations Report 2023

16 August 2023


The latest Media Nations report from Ofcom has landed – and it makes for essential reading if you’re an advertiser or media planning agency.

Here’s our rundown of all the key findings.

TV viewing declines, but BVOD helps broadcasters retain share

The amount of time spent watching TV and video content across all devices continued to shrink in 2022, with the average person spending 4 hours 26 minutes a day consuming such media. This equates to a 12% decline compared to 2021, though COVID lockdowns undoubtedly inflated numbers during that period.

Despite this year-on-year drop-off, broadcasters were able to retain their 60% share of total video viewing. Live TV remained the most watched with 44% of time spent, while viewing on broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) platforms rose.

Previously stable audiences are driving the decrease in viewing

Over-64s have customarily been an age group broadcasters could rely on for strong audience figures – but this is changing. Viewers aged 65-74 watched about 6% less broadcast TV year-on-year compared to 2021, and 10% less than they did in 2019. The picture is a similar one for those aged 75+, with declines of 6% compared to 2021 and 7% against 2019..

It’s likely that a large cohort of the over-65s has taken up an SVOD subscription in the past year, with the likes of Disney+, Netflix and Amazon making a beeline for such audiences. Interestingly, 12% of the Disney+ viewership is now aged 65+.

Younger adults, of course, have long long been light TV viewers. This doesn’t mean they’re unreachable, however, with 81% watching content on YouTube and other social platforms. BVOD and SVOD viewing is also high.

Which leads us onto our next finding…

The SVOD market is maturing

Subscription video-on-demand platforms have never been far away from the conversation when discussing the state of play for TV over the past few years. The signs are that this is a market now in a maturation phase.

With subscription numbers reaching a plateau, the major players are now diversifying their business models to tap into new revenue streams. Disney+ has just announced the forthcoming launch of an ad-funded alternative to the premium £10.99 p/m subscription that will cost customers £4.99, while Netflix’s ad-supported platform has been available since late 2022. Amazon Prime also offers the FreeVee strand of ad-supported content.

The roll-out of of these models is an exciting development for brands seeking to reach younger viewers in particular.

Commercial radio continues to thrive

The ongoing shift to digital is fuelling commercial radio’s evolution, with DAB services opening advertisers up to better audience targeting and higher listening figures.

One area of particular growth is local advertising and sponsorships, with smaller businesses capitalising on this trend.

But of course, this is 2023 – there’s more to audio than just radio these days. Online streaming and podcasts continue to hold sway among younger listeners, and with Spotify, Apple and Amazon all increasing their ad-free subscription rates in the past year (despite a cost-of-living crisis), we could see numbers for cheaper, ad-supported subscriptions grow.

Here’s an illuminating stat: one in five UK adults now listen to a podcast at least once a week. Ignore them at your peril!

Concluding thoughts

The latest Media Nations report ultimately confirms what we already knew: the TV landscape is atomising, with linear viewing figures continuing to decline and SVOD giants fortifying their positions of strength.

Brands and agencies are now required to implement a multifaceted approach to planning television campaigns that encompass linear, BVOD and – with new ad-funded models available – streaming platforms. How you split your spend between the three will depend largely on the audience you’re targeting. Speak to your media agency.

And don’t discount the likes of YouTube, either. Social video is going nowhere, with younger consumers in particular working short-form content into their typical media day with relish.

As for radio, well, the report offers further encouragement for an industry that continues to evolve with the times. Refined targeting capabilities, localised opportunities  and wider audience exposure should give advertisers food for thought when it comes to campaign planning.

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