‘Friends’ remains top TV show whilst all around it British TV viewing habits change

Sunday 22nd September marked the 25th Anniversary of ‘Friends’ being aired on television. Even today it is one of the highest streamed shows on Netflix both in the US and UK, demonstrating the uniquely enduring longevity and iconic status the sitcom holds.

In the years since ‘Friends’ first launched, the way we go about watching TV has changed enormously. Here we examine the fluctuations and trends in claimed viewing patterns amongst British adults, drawing upon our TGI Consumer Data.

TV viewing remains solid

When looking at how viewing habits have changed, our TGI Consumer Data shows that despite a small decline in TV viewing, it is incredibly strong with over 95% of the adult population each year in Great Britain claiming to watch TV ‘in the last 12 months’.

Prompted by evolving technology and increasing ease of access, online and on-demand viewing has increased steadily over the last 5 years, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV key contributors to this trend.

Claimed viewing of live TV online has also grown thanks to the increase in ways to watch via a PC, tablet or smartphone using online services.

Live TV online

TGI Consumer Data reveals that even though there has been a rise in live TV online viewing over the last few years, the services that people use have been subject to relative volatility.

Looking at the services that adults who have watched live TV online claim to have used ‘in the last 7 days’ to watch live TV online, most have experienced ups and downs with no steady increase or decrease.

On-demand habits

Exploring those adults who claim to watch on-demand TV, our TGI Consumer Data clearly shows the growth of Amazon and Netflix over the past 5 years. In 2015 only 9% of on-demand viewers had used Amazon Prime, but this has more than tripled today. BBC, Channel 4, ITV and YouTube have also all seen strong figures in this time.

On demand tastes remain the same

‘Friends’ may be one of the most streamed shows on Netflix, however looking at the types of shows that viewers claim they ‘usually watch’ on-demand, comedy doesn’t break into the top 5.

In fact, over the past two years the order of the top 5 genres has stayed identical and all have grown in popularity over the past year. Drama is the most popular genre across 2018 and 2019, followed closely by films. The fact comedy doesn’t appear in the top five further demonstrates the unique appeal of ‘Friends’ and just how compelling the show is to stand out in a genre not accessed as much as others.

To learn more about our TGI Consumer Data and how it can help you, please click here.



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