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Linear TV will peak this year as online TV takes over

05 Aug 2015 | Rasmus Larsen |

Are you still watching mostly TV channels or have you started moving to Online TV such as Netflix? This year will mark “peak linear TV“ globally, according to a research note. Viewers are moving to streaming services instead.

2015 - Peak linear TV

Streaming services offer the promise of “TV everywhere, whenever you like” but TV channels are still broadcasting some major events such as sports. On the other hand, movies are TV series are increasingly found on streaming services.

People’s habits are changing fast and the number of viewers on TV channels - often referred to as “linear TV” - will peak this year, says ZenithOptimedia who is analyzing media trends.

- “ZenithOptimedia predicts that the number of people regularly watching traditional, linear TV will peak this year, and will start to decline for the first time in 2016,” the agency said in a note, adding;
- “The amount of time people spend watching linear TV has been in slow decline for several years; we now predict that next year the number of viewers to start to decline as well,”

Viewers of TV channels have been in decline in France and Russia since 2013, and in decline in the UK and the US since 2014. The number of viewers is expected to start declining in China this year. On the other hand, the number of people viewing online TV is expected to increase by 23.3% this year and 19.8% next year. Mobile devices, connected TVs and changing habits will contribute to the trend, says ZenithOptimedia.

So what is really happening? The chart to the left, made by the Wall Street Journal, might explain it best. The young viewers are abandoning TV channels or have just never signed up after moving out. The younger you are, the less likely you are to watch linear TV.

More streaming services are popping up each month, and Netflix is continuing its rapid global expansion. HBO and Showtime also recently launched stand-alone streaming services.

This is only the beginning.

- Source: ZenitsOptimedia & WSJ

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