In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of online streaming services. With more people opting to stream TV shows on platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Now TV, does this mean that less people are reaching to watch classic, well-loved, live TV shows, such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake-Off?
One of the key reasons for the popularity of streaming services is the fact that you don’t have to wait – sometimes for as long as an entire week – for the next episode. You have the option to binge-watch the entire series, front to back, without spending ages waiting in suspense. This suits people’s needs, as the concept of being able to instantly click ‘next episode’ rather than waiting for an extended period of time is naturally very appealing to many.
But when people do choose to watch TV on the big screen, 16% of the viewing in 2018 was on streaming services
With our busy schedules, it is also easy to forget what date or time live shows are being televised, so it is increasingly easy to miss them. Especially when most people are at work full-time during the week, and then tend to go out and socialise with friends at the weekends. In this case, people have the ability to stream shows on catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and All 4, so it is therefore very easy to watch these live shows in your own time, rather than watching them as they air. This may be one of the many reasons that some people are drifting away from live shows as they air.
British-French crime drama The Tunnel (2018) is a prime example of this. It garnered an audience of 900,000, but only 3% of this audience watched the show at its scheduled time of broadcast. 70% of viewers decided to binge-watch the show online on streaming services instead, and 27% recorded the show so that they could watch it in their own time.
I think that there is something special and magical about the whole family sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday night together
There has been an increase in popularity of using tablets, smartphones, and laptops to watch TV shows, especially within the 16-34 age range. But when people do choose to watch TV on the big screen, 16% of the viewing in 2018 was on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Sky’s Now TV, rather than live, scheduled shows. Further studies showed that gender is a huge influence on whether watch live TV, as men statistically watch more live TV than women. This is especially prevalent in sporting events, such as football and rugby championships.
I think that there is something special and magical about the whole family sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday night together, and it saddens me to think that this may be something which has been left in the past. However, 2020’s series of Strictly Come Dancing seems to be proving otherwise, because the opening show of the series – aired last Saturday – saw the show’s highest ratings in the past 3 years. It attracted an average of 8.6 million viewers, compared to 7.8 million in 2019 and 8.1 million in 2018.
Live TV shows do still hold a special place in the hearts of people in the UK
The Great British Bake-Off’s 2020 launch show also broke records, as 10.8 million viewers tuned in, including those who watched on catch-up. A further 1.1 million watched repeat showings. This suggests that despite a number of viewers not watching the show as it aired live, these shows still capture the interest of a huge number of people, who make the effort to catch-up with the show even if they are unable to watch it as it airs.
The conclusion therefore appears to be, that despite busy schedules interrupting live TV watching, live TV shows do still hold a special place in the hearts of people in the UK. They still receive record-breaking viewing numbers, despite some people being unable to watch them live as they air. This suggests that streaming services have not completely taken over, and people do still take an interest in the shows that are aired on live TV, even if they do not watch them at their scheduled times.
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