Young people are watching a third less live TV than in 2010, favouring internet catch-up and streaming services.
OFCOM’s annual Communications Market Report found that, on average, 16 to 24-year-olds watch one hour and 54 minutes of TV a day, compared with three hours and 32 minutes across all age ranges.
That is four minutes less per day than last year, a smaller decline than in previous years, thanks mainly to over-65s watching more live TV than ever – five hours and 44 minutes.
More than 76% of young people surveyed said they used a subscription service, compared with 19% of people aged over 65.
Binge watching was popular among all age groups – 79% of adults watch multiple episodes of a series using internet services. A third of them admit to losing sleep to stay up watching.
Image: Over-65s are watching more TV than ever before
OFCOM said the trend has been driven in part “by the availability of faster home internet speeds, a rise in the number of connected TVs, and increased take up of smartphones and tablets”.
Lindsey Fussell, OFCOM consumer group director, said: “The vast majority of people said they found binge-watching relaxing, enjoyable and that they were glad to do it.
“But young people, interestingly, said it gave them something to talk about with their friends.”
The change in viewing habits points to a different future for the traditional television industry.
Julian Aquilina, a TV research analyst at Enders Analysis, told Sky News: “We estimate that the subscription streaming services are still roughly about 5% of video viewing.
“That’s very small compared to the traditional broadcasters, for examples, who account for about 85% of viewing today.
“Having said that, they are making a dramatic leap forwards among younger people.
“We are expecting 10 years from now that people are going to be consuming a lot more of that sort of content, and we can only assume that other age groups will follow.”
:: Cannes to stage international television festival:: Net neutrality: Should UK citizens be worried about US changes?
The annual report surveys thousands of adults about their viewing habits.
Some 7% of people surveyed said they had used mobile devices to watch programmes or films at the pub.