The death of TV has been greatly exaggerated?
The report into children’s viewing of TV published yesterday in the UK highlighted many of the problems facing the industry as it seeks to establish reliable measurement of who is viewing the medium and how they are doing so. Over the last few years our annual European Television Conference has tracked efforts made towards achieving this and it is clear that there is much confusion over definitions – TV the medium is conflated with TV the device. The study outlined below and the response to it by Lindsey Clay of Thinkbox (bottom) help identify this problem very well.
As it happens, at the start of this year SKO in the Netherlands was able to launch a service providing daily ratings of programme content viewed online – the first such service available worldwide (see here). That is a first step towards a project that ultimately will provide data that incorporates online viewing with regular TV viewing scheduled for later this year. Similar efforts are being conducted in many mature TV markets.
Children spending more time online than watching TV for the first time
Posted by Jasper Jackson at the Guardian on 26th January 2016
Research finds that on average five- to 15-year-olds are spending three hours a day on the internet
Children in the UK are spending more time on the internet than in front of the TV for the first time, according to new research into the media habits of under-16s.
Research firm Childwise found that on average five- to 15-year-olds were spending three hours a day using the internet, compared to 2.1 hours watching TV.
The amount of time children spend in front of a television screen has been declining steadily from a high of three hours in 2000/2001 and was at 2.3 hours last year. However, time online has seen a huge surge according to the research, up 50% from two hours last year.
That compares to time spent reading books for pleasure, which has declined from an hour a day on average in 2012 to just over half an hour on average this year.
The research, which is based on an online survey of more than 2,000 children, did not distinguish between TV-like services on the internet, such as Netflix and iPlayer, and other forms of browsing such as Facebook, meaning it is unclear whether children are merely watching shows in different ways.
However, the report says that YouTube has taken “centre stage in children’s lives” with half accessing it every day and almost all using it at least occasionally.
The majority of children who use YouTube visit the site to access music videos (58%), while around half watch “funny content” and a third say they watch gaming content, vlogs, TV programmes or “how to” videos. …
… read on at theguardian.com
Kids eh? A new online survey of children asking them about their media habits, by the research agency Childwise, caught BBC News’s attention today and I was invited on to talk about it.
Childwise’s findings focussed on a claim that children aged 5- to 16-years-old now spend more time online than they do watching TV.
Good headline, and it may be true, but it totally misses the point.
Online and TV are not equivalents. You may as well pit kettles against electricity.
Childwise has a strangely narrow definition of TV that overlooks the fact that lots of TV is watched online. Their study is also self-reported and so subject to the vagaries of how the children chose to answer – this may account for 50% of 5- to 16s claiming to have watched Netflix in a week, when only around 20% of households in the UK subscribe.
Must be watching it round a mate’s house.
Young people certainly watch less TV on a TV set than they used to – they watch about 2 hours a day on average – but they are spending more time watching TV online thanks to screens like tablets and smartphones, we just can’t measure how much yet.
Their new screen behaviour makes perfect sense. Children have never controlled what is watched on the TV set, but they now have personal screens that they do control. They don’t have to settle for family default viewing.
Hence time spent watching EastEnders has dropped 60% for this age group in the last ten years, but they are still watching almost exactly the same amount of dedicated children’s programming.
As the Childwise research found, they still prefer to watch TV on a TV set. Who doesn’t? Luckily, when they get older and have their own TVs, they can. I wish I had had a tablet and online TV when I was growing up. I wouldn’t have had to sit through the hours of gardening and war programmes my dad watched.
But, although they can avoid the stuff they never really wanted to watch, they aren’t all hiding away upstairs with their faces lit up; they still get involved with family viewing. Their most-watched TV programmes in 2015 according to BARB were Stickman followed by Britain’s Got Talent and then X Factor.
Does this mean anything for advertising? Not really. Children are watching 1 or 2 fewer ads a day on a TV set than years ago, but TV’s reach for this age group has remained constant at around 90% a week for a decade.
So the news is that young people are splitting their TV viewing across more screens than generations that only had one to choose from. Obviously they don’t just use the internet for watching TV. If they did, I wouldn’t be as worried as I am – as a parent – about what they do use it for.
The key issue for me is how this is an increasingly hard landscape for parents to navigate. The familiar UK TV channels are a safe and trusted environment for parents (via their online player extensions) as the rules which govern them in broadcast carry over onto the internet too.
The same cannot be said for other online video content.