VIEW VIDEO: What the Ofcom’s stats on booming video means for public sector comms

You’ll not be surprised that video consumption boomed during the pandemic but the data behind the headline does surprise.

Overall, video consumption soared by 47 minutes a day for adults in 2020 reaching a rather significant five hours 40 minutes of screentime.

However, the headline figures only take you through part of the story. What’s particularly interesting is the demographic breakdown of age groups.

As a communicator, its hugely important to know the age of your audience as this may significantly skew the way you need to think about reaching them.

Because I love you, I’ve gone through the Ofcom Media Nations 2021 report to look at age ranges for the UK. If you are from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland there are supporting reports with a bit more local colour.

Glancing through all of them, there aren’t huge difference between the Home nations.

Here’s how people spent that five hours 40 minutes a day.

Live TV (162 minutes) accounted for most with streaming video sites like Netflix (65 minutes) and YouTube (41 minutes) supporting.

Trends are accelerating

Things are getting faster and video is hoovering up people’s time.

“The pandemic caused an acceleration of existing viewing trends as people spent more time watching on-demand services.”

– Ofcom Media Nations, 2021

Aside from the overall boom, subscription TV services are now used by 60 per cent of all UK households adding just over an hour to the telly. Terrestrial telly has proved resilient in 2020.

Half of UK households now use a smart speaker daily with two thirds using it to listen to streaming services and 39 per cent carrying out voice search.

Radio also remains resilient with live radio on a DAB device the most popular use (63 per cent) with podcasts flat at 15 per cent.

The boom in social video remains vibrant with 82 per cent of online adults – that’s almost nine out of 10 people who are web-connected – watching it at some point in the last 12-months.

Video booms amongst all age groups

Delving into the data, video is no longer the preserve of the young. While 97 per cent of under 24s watched some kind of social video in the last 12-months that’s to be expected.

More surprising is the older 24 to 34 group were only two per cent behind and ratcheting through the age groups almost three quarters of 55 to 64-year-olds watch. Just short of half of over 65s also have watched short video in the last 12-months.

But video has been consistently high performing over the past five years.

It’s something I’ve been flagging for a good five years.

Social audio

The hot topic of social audio is also showing up in the data.

The Clubhouse app which introduced the concept hasn’t cut through with only 0.3 per cent of the population using it by March 2021.

The report flags up audio for Twitter and Facebook as something to watch. That’s fine. I’ll wait to see them become a measurable thing.

What the public sector needs to know

Toto, we’re not in 1998 anymore.

The pace of change is ever changing and it’s never going to be this slow again. The trick is to evaluate the data before flying headlong into new trends but be across those trends.

Video remains increasingly important.

Telly and radio are in a slight decline but they remain a significant chunk of how people consume the media. For the most part, what’s happening on Netflix is irrelevant as far as the public sector is concerned. But radio, that Cinderella platform, remains a thing.

I help train communications people in how to plan, shoot, edit and post effective video. You can see more here.

%d bloggers like this: