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Age, income, and gender still played an outsize role in determining most traditional and digital media audiences.
Print media attracted more than half of internet users ages 16 to 64 in Belgium. In Q1 2021, the penetration rates of print newspapers and magazines were 53.4% and 52.5%, respectively. Males, older age groups, and respondents in middle- and high-income households were most likely to read print newspapers. Print magazines were also more popular among affluent homes and older cohorts—reaching 67.3% among those ages 55 to 64—but skewed female, as in Q1 2020. The average time spent with print formats each day in H1 2021 was less than time spent with online press, at 31 minutes and 43 minutes, respectively. Both formats rose by 5 minutes year over year, however.
Traditional TV was still appealing. In Q1 2021, 92.0% of internet users had watched live TV in the prior month. The share who viewed TV shows they recorded earlier rose to 79.1%, with females using this option the most, at 83.1%. For the first time, over half (54.5%) of those polled had used a channel’s catch-up or on-demand service.
The share of internet users who had streamed video of any kind in the prior month climbed dramatically, from 73.6% in H1 2020 to 86.1% in H1 2021. This may be partly because GWI now counts YouTube among the video-on-demand (VOD) services it asks respondents about. But the general surge in home entertainment during pandemic lockdowns was also a factor here; significant restrictions were in force in Belgium between March and May 2020, as well as during the first four months of 2021, easing only in May 2021.