Cutting the cable – are we a nation of streamers?

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Netflix and no TV bill – the way we watch television has transformed over the last few decades and no longer are we restricted to TV schedules for entertainment. We have access to a huge range of boxsets and movies, whenever and wherever we are meaning being connected is more important than ever.

Yih-Choung Teh, Strategy and Research Group Director at Ofcom, said: “The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes.”

Traditionally telecoms companies relied on TV companies to define what “TV” meant, but now video has moved online. Streaming isn’t going anywhere – it’s only getting bigger. For instance, Walt Disney announced their new streaming service, Disney+ has had 28.6 million people sign up since its launch in November. So, are we now a nation of streamers?

Changing habits

As our leisure time is seemingly reduced year on year, it is no surprise that TV habits are changing. Traditional TV still equates for 70% of TV time, however this is reducing year on year, with 2019 shaving 11 minutes off most people’s average TV watching. The young population are driving the biggest change as 16-24-year olds’ watch half the traditional TV they did in 2010 yet spend an average of an hour a day on YouTube.

The “bingewatching” phenomenon streaming services has set in motion means the way people watch TV has altered; there is more incentive to spend an evening watching an entire series rather than watching a couple of shows a night. Whilst there are a wide range of streaming subscriptions available in the UK, around 50% of homes have subscriptions to the four main providers; Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV and Disney Life.

Ofcom’s report shows that two in five UK adults now consider online video services to be their main way of watching TV and film. Despite UK viewers saying they feel broadly satisfied with the quality of broadcast television according to Ofcom, a similar proportion of people who use subscription streaming services foresee themselves not watching traditional broadcast television at all in five years’ time due to the attraction to online viewing and streaming.

Importance of a good connection

As streaming services and YouTube become inevitably more and more popular the need for a good connection is essential. You don’t want to be halfway through your favourite programme, only for it to start buffering or even worse, cut out completely.

Whilst streaming started off as an innovation for watching TV at home through a Wi-Fi connection, more and more people are streaming programmes whilst out and about. Netflix and similar streaming services are ideal for commuters who want to catch up on their favourite shows. Yet this means a stronger connection than ever is necessary.

The role 5G has to play

A strong connection is essential when streaming or downloading programmes, and the rollout of 5G is contributing to bringing shows to your screen even quicker – even instantaneously in some cases. 5G will be particularly influential in the livestreaming market, helping viewers to see live content in real-time and without a lag. This is technology that sports broadcasters are likely to welcome with open arms – watching football or rugby with a delay just really isn’t the same.

At Commhoist, we provide telecoms logistics services across the UK. We work alongside our partners to install and maintain the mobile network within the UK, including the rollout of the 5G network. To discuss your next telecoms project contact our team who will happy to discuss your requirements.