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Linear Generated 63% of TV Viewing in 2019

(Image credit: roku)

Linear TV held on to its top spot for consumer TV viewership in the U.S. and other major economies in 2019, according to a new report from Omdia, despite declines in viewership.

Per Omdia’s “Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report—2020,” 63% of television viewing in the U.S. in 2019 came from linear TV. Long-form online viewing accounted for 16% (i.e. SVOD services), while PVR time-shifted TV was at 12%. The 63% for linear TV is down from 67% in 2018.

Other countries covered in the report—Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the U.K.—saw similar trends.

Average linear TV viewing time declined in all but one market, the Netherlands, where it remained unchanged. The U.S. saw a dip of about 19 minutes.

“Although traditional linear television viewing is undergoing a broad-based decline, this form of entertainment remains central to most people’s viewing habits,” said Rob Moyser, an analyst covering TV media, service providers and platforms at Omdia. “As a result, linear still accounts for the majority of viewing in all countries tracked.”

Moyser said that in Italy, linear TV still accounts for 90% of total viewing.

When looking at the non-linear areas of TV viewing, online long-form video was the biggest growth sector in 2019, growing in all markets and driven by services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The largest amount of growth occurred in Australia (55%).

Omdia finds that growth in OTT subscribers, D2C launches and a rise in connected TV and pay-TV partnerships are fueling the increase in online, long-term video viewing.

The fastest-growing segment on non-linear viewing, however, is for social media. Across the all participating markets, social media viewing increased by 10 minutes in 2019, surpassing all other forms of non-linear TV video. It had an average of 41 minutes per person, per day in all markets, an increase of 10 minutes; the U.S. led the way with an average of 49.3 minutes in 2019.

Additional details provided in the Omdia report found that the average total daily viewing time increased to 306 minutes per person, per day; and TV viewing saw a massive rise during March and April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.