Live TV resilient despite growth in VoD services according to Ofcom's ICMR

posted on 19 December, 2017   (public)

 Ofcom releases 12th edition of International Communications Market report

On 18 December 2017, Ofcom, the converged regulator in the UK, published its twelfth International Communications Market Report (ICMR) which provides comparative international data on the communications sector on the availability, take-up and use of services in the UK and 16 comparator countries.

The aim of the report is to benchmark the UK communications sector against a range of comparator countries in order to assess how the UK is performing in an international context. The report covers the year 2016 and compares the UK with 16 countries: France, Germany, Italy, the US, Japan, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland,  South Korea, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Nigeria.

Worth reading is a handy overview of recent and ongoing regulatory developments at EU and International levels in the communication sector (in Section 2), highlighting significant developments in order to provide some context to the analysis of the international communications market.

An valuable addition to this years' edition is the access to interactive data. The tool allows users to explore and interact with data about selected highlights from the ICMR.

Some key points of the 2017 ICMR include:

  • TV revenue per capita in the UK was £218 in 2016, the third highest of the comparator countries after Germany (£256) and the US. Unlike the US, the UK and Germany both generate a significant proportion of revenues from public funding.
  • There is a large variation in the take-up of pay TV: it is ubiquitous in the Netherlands (98%) and Sweden (88%), but is only in a third or less of homes in Italy or Spain. In the UK, 58% of househiolds have a pay-tn subscription.
  • The higher use of on-demand services has contributed to declines in live broadcast TV viewing across many countries. Average live TV viewing fell in most countries in 2016, as viewers watched more time-shifted and video-on-demand programmes. UK viewers watched an average of 3 hours 3 minutes of live TV a day in 2016, five minutes less than in 2015. Viewers in Poland and Japan had the highest viewing figures and watched an average of 4 hours 22 minutes of TV in 2016, whereas the lowest average viewing in the comparator countries was 2 hours 20 minutes in Sweden.
  • Live TV Resilience: However, watching live broadcasting continues to be the main way in which people watch TV in all the comparator countries.
  • FTA catch-up and on-demand services: The UK had the highest use of free-to-air broadcaster catch-up and on-demand services of all comparator countries; 56% of respondents claimed to watch services such as the BBC iPlayer and All4. The second-highest was Spain (42%) where services such as A la carta deliver content from public service broadcaster RTVE.
  • SVoD and streaming subscribers: in 2016, UK TV households overtook Sweden to have the second largest proportion of paid-for on demand and streaming subscribers. In the UK, 22% of TV homes had Netflix, followed by Amazon at 14%. The Swedish VoD market is well established and led by the success of Viaplay and Netflix. Amazon has more than twice as many suibscribers as Netflix in Germany, possibly due to its early introduction of localiased content. Convenience and quality of content were the most-cited reasons for signing up to a SVoD service in all countries.
  • DAB coverage is highest in the UK out of all the comparator countries, at 97% population coverage. Digital radio listening is higher in the UK than in all other comparator countries (note that Norway is not covered by the report).


Source: Ofcom website