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Global Media Intelligence 2021: United Kingdom

Noteworthy in 2021

More internet users watched digital video than broadcast TV, but live TV claimed twice as much time.

  • More than 86% of UK internet users polled in H1 2021 had watched live TV in the prior month, spending an average 2 hours, 39 minutes (2:39) per day—a very minimal year-over-year (YoY) increase.
  • As last year, about two-thirds of UK respondents had viewed pre-recorded TV shows.
  • The share who watched programs via TV channels’ catch-up or on-demand services, such as the BBC iPlayer or All4, rose slightly, to 84.2%. As in prior years, the UK registered one of the highest rates of catch-up TV viewing globally—thanks largely to the BBC launching one of the first such services anywhere in July 2007. This year, engagement with catch-up services was almost uniform across age brackets but still increased in direct correlation with household income, from 77.5% in the least well-to-do homes to 91.4% in the most affluent.
  • The share of UK respondents viewing content via subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video took a sizable jump as well this year to 80.8%. Younger people were still in the vanguard here; 94.2% of internet users ages 16 to 24 had watched SVOD in the previous month. But—as in 2020—penetration was up YoY in every demographic, including 55- to 64-year-olds. In that cohort, usage approached 61% in H1 2021.
  • Overall, takeup of numerous viewing options and services boosted VOD penetration to 92.5%—confirmation that digital video viewing is now substantially more common among internet users than live TV viewing. On average, respondents devoted 1:22 daily to streaming video content.


Karin von Abrams


Anam Baig
Senior Editor
Joanne DiCamillo
Magenta Fox
Senior Chart Editor
Donte Gibson
Chart Editor
Kathleen Hamblin
Chart Editorial Manager
Dana Hill
Director of Production
Erika Huber
Copy Editor
Hilary Rengert
VP, Research Strategy
Amanda Silvestri
Senior Copy Editor
Ali Young
Research Editor
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