December 11, 2013
BBC’s iPlayer streaming service shows that Britain’s TV viewers have different consumption habits than Netflix customers here in the U.S. The iPlayer service, which offers live and on-demand shows for viewing, indicates viewership habits that reflect traditional TV viewing, with varying peak times. The majority of BBC’s viewers still watch traditional television, but the definition of “prime time” changes along with the shift to streaming.
“Peak viewing time for television is between 8pm and 9pm, building up from about 6pm and dropping sharply after 9pm,” explains Quartz. “During peak hour, some 26 million Britons plonk themselves in front of their televisions. By contrast, the number of people watching iPlayer starts rising in the late afternoon and hits its highest level around 10pm, also dropping sharply after the peak.”
One possible explanation for the later viewing patterns with streaming is that people are watching on mobile devices in bed. But as mobile and tablet use increases (41 percent in the past two years), viewing patterns have remained the same.
“That suggests that people retain their habits while shifting devices,” Quartz notes. “People were surely taking their laptops to bed in the days before tablets.” Demographics likely also play a role.
Though Quartz says the iPlayer’s peak viewership hovers just above half a million people, more viewers will continue to shift to this form of consumption, changing the peak times and lengths as well.