Non-linear TV viewing continued to grow both viewers and viewing time against traditional linear options with audiences in the United States, Europe and Australia, according to 2021 data recently revealed by market research firm Omdia.

Omdia said non-linear viewing continues to build dominance in the daily viewing of TV users across the regions, who are more and more opting for on-demand online long form and social media video content.

The firm’s Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report showed total daily viewing time across the regions monitored reached 362 minutes per person per day in 2021, down 0.5% from the prior year. The drop came from an aggregate of content types including: linear TV, online short form and pay TV VoD, with linear TV seeing the greatest drop-off.

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Growth, however, was measured in online long form and social media video viewing, helping to keep the overall decline in viewing time to just 2 minutes.

The report attributed some of the decline in linear TV viewing time to 2021’s end of restrictions and lockdowns in the measured markets. Lockdowns spurred an uptick in TV viewership in peak-pandemic 2020, and along with it, a gradual shift in on-demand viewing habits.

“In highly-developed markets such as the U.S. and the UK, 2021 will likely be the last year where linear TV predominates over non-linear TV viewing,” stated Rob Moyser, a Omdia TV & Online Video team senior analyst. “On a platform-by-platform level, however, linear TV still remains by some distance the most popular way to watch TV in the markets covered.”

Omdia found long-form online viewing as a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by established subscription over the top (OTT) services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. This was aided further by the launches of some newer OTT services including Discovery+ and Paramount+, the report found.

Omdia said that in total, long-form viewing grew by 8 minutes, reaching 68 minutes, 8 minutes more than social media video viewing.

Time spent viewing video content on social media platforms increased by 9 minutes in 2021 to an average of 60 minutes per person per day across the nine markets reviewed.

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By Greg Tarr

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