Young people are increasingly watching television content online, shunning live broadcasts and resulting in the BBC and Channel 4 suffering huge ratings blows, writes the Independent. The newspaper cites figures from the Broadcasting Audience Research Board. ITV, on the other hand, has remained relatively unscathed.
The number of people between 25 and 34 who watch various BBC channels dropped by 12% between 2010 and 2013. The decline was higher than the average decline, which was 7%, and greater than the decline in viewing figures for any other channel. ITV registered a drop of 3% for viewers in this age group in the same period. In the younger demographic of 16-24 year olds, the hardest hit was Channel 4, which lost 19% of its audience in this age group. This was followed by Sky, which lost 18%, and the BBC which lost 17%. The average for this demographic was 15% and for ITV the figure was 13%.
Commenting on the figures, Boston Consulting Group managing director Paul Zwillenberg said that digital channels are transforming the face of broadcasting completely, especially in younger demographics. Broadcasters themselves are starting to take note; they are turning to digital in order to turn things around. The BBC recently hired two performers who became famous on YouTube and it also boasts that its iPlayer service for online TV viewing is the country’s leading on-demand service. Channel 4, for its part, said that its year started well, with younger audiences tending to watch more video content on mobile devices. Its own on-demand service, 4OD, expanded by a fifth on an annual basis over the first quarter of the year.