How much time do we spend watching TV each day? TikTok and YouTube pull explained UK - is it the end for telly

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Young people spend less than an hour a day watching traditional TV channels, Ofcom report finds

Younger adults watch almost seven times less scheduled TV than those aged 65 and over, as the generation gap in media habits reaches a record high, a new survey by regulator Ofcom has found.

People aged between 16 and 24 spend less than an hour in front of broadcast TV on an average day – a fall of two-thirds in the last ten years.

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UK young adults watch more TikTok than TV (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/Afghanistan/AFP via Getty Images)UK young adults watch more TikTok than TV (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/Afghanistan/AFP via Getty Images)
UK young adults watch more TikTok than TV (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/Afghanistan/AFP via Getty Images) | Afghanistan/AFP via Getty Images

By contrast, those aged 65 and over still spend around a third of their waking day enjoying broadcast TV, sitting down for five hours and 50 minutes on average each day - higher than a decade ago, say Ofcom.

Nine in ten 18 to 24-year-old adults bypass TV channels and head straight to streaming, on-demand and social video services when looking for something to watch, with Netflix the most common destination.

Whilst Facebook and YouTube remain the most popular social video platforms in the UK, TikTok continues to grow, reaching 66% of online 15 to 24-year-olds, the survey found.

Are short form videos taking over TV?

Short-form videos, which have gained popularity in recent years, are generally under 10 minutes, whilst longform videos are over 10 minutes.

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In England, Scotland and Wales, short-form video was watched by a third of online adults aged 15 and above in 2022, with viewing skewing more to younger audiences. At least 69% of 15 to 17-year-olds and 65% of 18 to 24-year-olds watched short-form videos daily, compared to just 12% of those aged 65 and above.

And young TikTok visitors spent an average of about 29 minutes per day on the platform in March 2022, almost as much as Facebook and Messenger visitors spent on those apps.

In 2020, the popularity of TikTok prompted social-video-capable platforms to introduce similar short form orientated features – Instagram and Facebook with Reels, and YouTube with Shorts.

Is this the end for traditional TV?

As a result, Ofcom has warned that public service broadcasters will continue to face falls in audience and levels of viewing, despite viewing figures of more than 10 million for major national events such as the Women’s Euro 2022 final and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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TV and video viewing habits were significantly impacted by Covid-19 related restrictions, according to Ofcom.

While most types of viewing have fallen from the unprecedented levels of 2020, people are still swaying towards on-demand content, including on services provided on a subscription basis, free-to-view from broadcasters such as BBC iPlayer, and social video platforms.

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