Aug 5, 2020

UK broadcasters lose ground to streaming services during lockdown

The BBC and ITV are losing ground to big US streaming services post-lockdown, with new viewers sticking with Disney+, Amazon and Netflix even as audiences for traditional broadcasters fall to more normal levels. The annual report on viewing habits by Ofcom, the UK's media regulator, noted the dramatic inroads made by streaming services since the coronavirus crisis, with sign-ups rising by 12m and overall viewing time doubling. Crucially as broadcast television viewing time fell sharply in June, following the easing of movement restrictions, subscription services retained almost three-quarters of the extra viewing time they had gained during lockdown. While broadcasters enjoyed some success on their streaming services - such as iPlayer, ITV Hub and All4 - the services claimed only a minute more viewing during April, while over the same period subscription services rose by 37 minutes. "The pandemic showed public service broadcasting at its best, delivering trusted news and UK content that viewers really value. But UK broadcasters face a tough advertising market, production challenges and financial uncertainty. So they need to keep demonstrating that value in the face of intense competition from streaming services."

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