The future is online and on demand, that is according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics’ annual Internet Access and Use report. Nearly 50% of of all adults said they had watched Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime Video or a similar internet-based service over the past three months.
The study also reveled that households with some kind of internet access has not changed since last year, remaining at 90%. 100% of households with children now have internet access for the first time. Usage has increased, with 86% of over-16s reporting that they use the net daily or almost every day. The prior year, the figure was 80%.
The activities (other than sending emails) that saw the biggest gains over the past two years were:
watching video-on-demand from commercial services – 46% had done so over the last three months, up from 29% in 2016
watching videos from YouTube and similar platforms – 62%, up from 47%
listening to net-streamed music – 58%, up from 49%
internet banking – 69%, up from 60%
selling goods or services over the internet – 25%, up from 18%
One media industry analyst said the growing popularity of online TV had meant providers were having to adapt their offerings.
“If you look at the breakdown of who is using these services, it’s starting to bleed outside the younger tech-savvy audiences and getting traction among older groups as well,” commented Tom Harrington from Enders Analysis.
“You can see that reflected in the types of programming being made available, with Netflix and others commissioning original shows pitched at more mature audiences.”
He added, however, that the market was set to become more competitive.
Sky is set to make all its content available online; Apple is expected to launch a TV subscription service soon; and Disney may expand the content available via its DisneyLife app following the takeover of 21st Century Fox.
The ONS report also points to some differences in internet use between the sexes.
Women appear to be more engaged with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, with 69% saying they had recently used them. By contrast the figure for men was 60%.
However, while 69% of men said they had recently watched videos on YouTube or a similar service, the figure for women was 56%.