Watching live TV is still more popular than streamed video content
February 12th, 2024, Rishad Dsouza

Watching live TV is still more popular than streamed video content

YouGov runs a multi-market tracker across 17 markets, observing the monthly consumption of various popular forms of entertainment media – from TV watching to video gaming. In this piece, we look at an overview of changing trends from the start of 2021 to the end of 2023.

One of the most noticeable takeaways from the data is that watching live TV has maintained primacy over streamed video content, even if the gap has narrowed considerably every now and then.

In the first quarter of 2021, an average of 67% consumers in 18 markets said they watched live television in the past month and this figure still stands at 67% as of the Q4 of 2023. But figures had dipped to 63% in the second quarter of 2023, at which point it was only five percentage points clear of streamed video content consumption. Over the whole period, streamed video content has ticked up slightly from 59% to 61%.

Note that live TV here doesn’t specifically refer to broadcast or cable or any other particular form of TV watching. When selecting live television, it is likely consumers are thinking of broadcast, cable as well as streamed channels of live TV programmes such as, for instance, live sports streams on an online platform.

Streamed music closes in on radio

The share of consumers listening to music from streaming services has grown from 48% in Q1 of 2021 to 52% in Q4 of 2023. This has happened at the expense of consumption of owned music, which has declined from 40% to 33%. Owned music refers to music owned in both physical (for eg., CDs) and digital formats (for eg., downloads).

The more surprising thing perhaps is that radio has maintained a steady share, with 56% of consumers saying they tuned in the last quarter of 2023 – same as in the first quarter of 2021.

Video gaming vs books?

Admittedly, these two categories aren’t direct comparisons, certainly not in the way that the categories are. But out of the categories we track they lack other complementary categories, which is why we’ve paired them in this section.

Book reading – whether on physical or digital formats – has experienced some turbulence, declining from 54% to 50% in the second quarter of 2022. But it has ticked up to 52% over the last two quarters of 2023. Gaming experienced a dip from 37% to 35% in the first couple of quarters and has since bounced in a tight range between 34% and 35% ever since.

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