Ofcom Linear vs non-linear viewing report

Ofcom has recently published a research report by Kantar Media into people’s linear and non-linear viewing habits and attitudes.  The report is based on qualitative research findings from a series of ten two-hour workshop groups and ten one-hour ethnographic depth interviews conducted across the UK.  The specific objectives of the study were:

  • To understand which platform providers people use for watching television and how people access linear and video-on-demand (VOD) services;
  • To explore in detail the motivations for watching VOD content versus linear content; 
  • To understand motivations for watching VOD content on different devices;
  • To understand which specific content providers people use, how they access them and why they make those choices; and 
  • To understand what causes viewers to switch from a contractual relationship with one platform provider to another and from one content provider to another. 

The study found that linear TV (viewed at the time of broadcast) continued to play an important role in most participants’ viewing habits, and was particularly valued for ‘event TV’ content, live sports and, to a slightly lesser extent, drama series and soaps.  However, the majority of participants also observed the increasing significance of non-linear viewing, with catch-up and on-demand services allowing content to be consumed at their convenience. 

Viewing habits and preferences varied by age group, with younger participants more likely to favour non-linear viewing and older participants continuing to prefer linear consumption.  Similarly, younger and more tech engaged participants were using a wider array of devices than their older counterparts to view content (particularly via non-linear services).  

Download the report