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Want to stay up to date with what your audience is watching, reading, listening to, and scrolling through? Our monthly UK media consumption tracker, with data from 1,000 consumers, gives you the latest insight and analysis to inform your media planning.
📺 Watching data: live and streamed TV
📻 Listening data: radio, streamed music, podcasts and audiobooks
📕 Reading data: print and digital newspapers and magazines
📱 Scrolling data: top nine social media platforms
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More Brits visited Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis during the fourth quarter, the latest results of our UK media consumption tracker suggest. In the three months to December 29, usage of social media grew, while other mediums became less popular. See the highlights below and continue reading for a full overview of each category.
Daily usage of some of the biggest social media sites increased during Q4. Facebook chalked up the biggest gain, with the percentage of Brits who use the platform on a daily basis rising +6.8 percentage points to 62.2%.
The number of daily Instagram users also rose by +6 percentage points to 50.1%, while Twitter saw a +5.7 percentage point increase (to 26.9%). Additionally, more people started using the platform: 61.2% of Brits say they use Twitter to some degree, up by +3.3 percentage points on the previous quarter.
However, the consistent growth enjoyed by TikTok plateaued in Q4, with a -2.5 percentage point decrease in daily users to 29.7%, and a -1.1 percentage point decrease in overall usership (53.4% of Brits say they use TikTok at least occasionally).
One platform that does show a continued upward trend is newcomer BeReal. Although its market penetration is still small, UK usership has grown by +4.9 percentage points in the last quarter to 19.6%.
TV viewing time decreased during the fourth quarter: there was a +5.2 percentage point increase in people watching for less than an hour per day. But Brits are still most likely to say they watch 3-4 hours of TV each day (35.6%).
At the same time, more people have returned to watching live TV – although only for short periods per day. Nearly 81% of Brits say they watch at least some live TV daily, up +4.6 percentage points on the previous quarter.
TV streaming services fared poorly, with little growth between them. Disney+ experienced the biggest loss in weekly users. The number of people who use the platform at least once a week dropped by -3.5 percentage points to 38.4%.
Now TV’s burgeoning grasp on the market suffered a blow with a -2.9 percentage point drop to 8.4%. Meanwhile, market leader Netflix saw only a tiny +0.6 percentage point increase to 77.3%, despite the success of its hit show Wednesday, which was named as the most popular of the quarter.
Listening to the radio became less popular in the three months to December 29. The number of Brits who listen to the radio daily fell by -5.4 percentage points to 34.3%. Streamed music also saw a similar decline, with a -4.9 percentage point reduction in daily listeners to 27.8%.
Despite that, two of the six music streaming platforms in our survey managed to chalk up notable growth. YouTube Music increased weekly listeners by +5.2 percentage points to 27.5%, which puts it ahead of Amazon Music, which stays static at 23.2%. Apple Music also grew weekly listeners by +3.6 percentage points to 15.6%. On the other hand, market leader Spotify registered a -2.3 percentage point loss to 48.3%.
The number of people listening to audiobooks weekly grew a smidge to 17.6%, while podcasts stayed static: 33.6% listen to them weekly. However, we do see a reshuffle in the most popular podcast subjects. News & politics fell by -2.2 percentage points to 12.4%, while history rose by +3.2 percentage points to 12.9%, and sport grew by +2.2 percentage points to 19.7%. Comedy is the most popular genre of podcast, listened to by 23.3% of Brits.
People are visiting news websites and apps more frequently than in Q3: the number of people accessing digital news each week grew by +4.8 percentage points to 70.8%, this includes 37.3% who do so daily (up by +3.2 percentage points).
Printed newspapers, on the other hand, remained static, with 25.85% of Brits reading one weekly. When it comes to magazines, both formats enjoyed modest growth: weekly readership of printed mags grew by +2.2 percentage points to 20.8%, while digital magazines also rose by +2.2 percentage points to 27.01%.
The publishing industry will be glad to hear that news media subscriptions appear to be holding up despite the pressure of paying for Christmas and the rising cost of living. Nearly 32% of Brits are paying for subscriptions to news media, which is an increase of +3.9 percentage points on the previous quarter.
After a somewhat gloomy Q2 in which Brits were cancelling content subscriptions and switching off their devices, the results of our Q3 UK media consumption tracker show a more positive picture. In the three months to September 29, nearly all mediums appear to have bounced back, with a particularly strong performance for audio. See the highlights below and continue reading for a full overview of each category.
As Brits turned their attention back to work post-summer holidays, LinkedIn saw the biggest growth in users of all the social media platforms in our survey. The professional networking site increased usership by +7.2 percentage points to 48.1%. And those visiting it weekly grew from 20.3% to 24.2%, suggesting people might be looking for new work opportunities.
TikTok also performed well, expanding UK users numbers by +5.8 percentage points to 53.6%, and increasing weekly users by +6.2 percentage points to 43.5% (including 29.6% who visit the platform daily).
Overall, 8 out of the 9 platforms we measured showed growth; only Twitch remained static. We also looked at newcomer BeReal for the first time. The platform has been designed to combat the superficiality of regular social media by requiring users to take photos at different times each day – regardless of what they’re doing at that moment. Only 12.8% of Brits are using the platform currently, with 7.8% using it frequently.
In terms of how long Brits are spending on social media each day at the moment, people are most likely to say 1-2 hours (25.2%), but a further 20.4% spend 3-4 hours.
Disney+ made the biggest gains of all the TV streaming services in Q3. The platform increased weekly UK users by +6 percentage points to 41.9%. This puts it close behind Amazon Prime, which is the nation’s second most-popular streaming platform, watched by 46% of people weekly.
Twelve of the 15 streaming platforms we track saw positive growth in the quarter, including Netflix, which rebounded to 76.7%. This may have been helped by ‘Monster’, its drama based on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, which was one of the quarter’s most popular shows, alongside Channel 4’s ‘Married at First Sight UK’.
Viewing time for subscription TV is trending up, with Brits most likely to say they watch between 1-2 hours per day (37.8%). Viewing time is also on the up for free on-demand TV, although people are likely to watch a lesser 30-minutes to an hour per day. The most-watched platform is BBC iPlayer – its number of weekly UK users has increased by +3.1 percentage points to 45.9%.
Live TV, meanwhile, sees a -3.3 percentage point decline in weekly viewers: 24.1% of Brits say they typically don’t watch any live TV. However, of those who do, the most common time spent viewing daily is 1-2 hours (23.4%).
Last quarter we reported how radio had lost listeners, but those listeners have returned – bringing more listeners with them. Following a +4.9 percentage point increase, 91.3% of Brits say they are radio listeners. In fact, the largest percentage of people listen on a daily basis (39.5%).
Radio remains more popular than listening to streamed music, but this medium also sees a small boost in Q3. The percentage of Brits listening to streamed music daily rises from 30.7% to 32.6%, and the number of non-listeners declines by -2.7 percentage points to 17.2%.
Four out of the six music streaming platforms we track grew regular users, with Spotify chalking up the biggest growth: it rose +3.9pp to 50.6%. Amazon Music and YouTube continue to battle it out for second place, with Amazon making up ground (+2.4pp to 22.9%) and YouTube slipping (-1.5pp to 22.3%).
But the most impressive rally comes from audiobooks, with the medium recording a +7.1 percentage point increase in users. Just over 42% of Brits say they listen to audiobooks, with 15.9% listening at least once a week (up by +3.7pp).
Podcasts also enjoyed a positive quarter, with the number of Brits who listen to them increasing by +5.3 percentage points to 61.7%. And the percentage who listen weekly has grown by +5.5 percentage points to 33.3%. Comedy is the most popular genre of podcast (19.8%), followed by sport (15.6%), health/wellbeing (13.8%) and true crime (13.3%).
Last quarter, we posited that inflation was leading Brits to cancel their news media content subscriptions, but Q4 sees a +5 percentage point uptick in subscribers. In September, 28% of people said they had at least one paid-for content subscription (either print or digital).
We also see an increase in the numbers of people who read newspapers and magazines, but not huge increases to the frequency with which they read. Digital magazines enjoyed the biggest boost in readership, with a +6.9 percentage point increase to 61.0%, and 24.8% of people accessing them weekly (+2.7pp). Printed magazines also chalked up a +5.7 percentage point increase in readership, to 63.0% but the number of people reading on a weekly basis failed to grow.
Weekly readership of printed newspapers also remained static, although there’s been a +4.5 percentage point increase in readership overall, now standing at 58.5% of Brits. Meanwhile, digital news sees the biggest growth in weekly readers, growing +3.9 percentage points to 70.6% (including 37.2% who access news websites and apps daily).
The effects of inflation can be seen in our Q2 UK media consumption tracker results, with usage of paid content subscription services declining.
This is most pronounced in news media subscriptions (both print and digital), which fell by 8.8 percentage points in the three months to June 29. Just over 76% of Brits don’t pay to access newspaper or magazine content, indicating that journalism will suffer during the cost of living crisis.
We also see a 1.6 percentage point reduction in the number of people using a subscription TV streaming service; 12.3% of UK consumers say they don’t watch any. Meanwhile, eight out of the 11 paid-for TV streaming services in our survey recorded a drop in regular users, which could point to a loss of subscribers.
The biggest loser was Netflix, which dropped 2.1 percentage points (to 74.3% of Brits watching at least once a week), despite Stranger Things being named the number one show of the quarter. Netflix will be hoping their newly-announced plan to launch a cheap ad-supported subscription option will help shore up subscriber numbers (the platform lost almost 1m subscribers globally between April and July according to official figures).Amazon Prime and Disney+ also both experienced a 1.7 percentage point loss in viewers during the quarter (to 45.7% and 35.9% respectively). It’s a very different picture to Q1, when all of these platforms chalked up growth.
On the other hand, the number of people watching terrestrial TV is trending up by 2.6 percentage points to 78.6%. And people are watching live TV for longer, with a 1.4 percentage point increase in 4-hour-plus viewing sessions. This reverses the trend seen during the first quarter, when live TV was in decline.
It’s not just paid-for content subscriptions that Brits are eschewing in Q2; magazines and newspapers are trending down in general. The number of people who never read a printed newspaper has risen by 3.6 percentage points to 46% – almost half of the population. And while accessing news digitally is far more popular, we see usage declining here too.
The number of people visiting news sites or apps daily has dropped by 1.8 percentage points to 36.8%, and weekly visitors are down by a further 2.1 percentage points to 29.9%. People not using them at all has also increased by 1.4 percentage points to 15.9%. Could this be down to the depressing news agenda?
Magazines are faring even worse, with the number of Brits who never read a printed magazine increasing by 4 percentage points to 42.7%, and by 4.7 percentage points (to 45.9%) for magazine websites/apps.
Brits have also switched off their radios in the second quarter of 2022. While the medium was trending up in Q1, we now see a 1.8 percentage point increase in the number of people who never listen to the radio (13.6%). Daily listeners have decreased by 1 percentage point to 38.7%, and weekly listeners have declined 1.1 percentage point to 33.1%.
Podcasts – another medium doing well at the start of the year – have recorded a 2.3 percentage point increase in people never listening (to 43.6%), and daily/weekly listeners have fallen by 1.9 percentage points to 27.8%. Audiobooks, meanwhile, are suffering even more, with a 4.7 percentage point increase in the number of people who never listen to them – now standing at a significant 64.7%.
Music streaming platforms did see growth during the period – with one notable exception. The number of people regularly using Amazon Music declined by 4.7 percentage points to 20.5%, meaning it is no longer the UK’s second-most popular platform (behind Spotify). That title now belongs to YouTube Music, which made a small gain in regular users (following a Q1 loss) and now owns 23.8% of the UK market.
It could be down to the better weather, but Brits spent less time on social media during Spring. Out of the nine platforms in our survey, seven of them saw usage go down. TikTok experienced the biggest loss (following a positive performance in Q1), with a 1.9 percentage point reduction in weekly users to 25.1%, and a 1.6 percentage point uplift in people never using the platform to 52.2%.
The only platforms to buck the downward trend were Pinterest, which grew daily and weekly users by 2.9 percentage points to 14.9%, and Snapchat, which saw a 2.5 percentage point uplift in daily users to 21.3%. Both platforms, however, are still small players when compared to the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, who dominate the top three.
The ‘will he/won’t he’ drama around Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter (and the platform’s threatened lawsuit) hasn’t succeeded in gaining the site any more users. In fact, 41.3% of Brits now never use Twitter, following a 1.9 percentage point decline in users.
Since rebranding to Meta, the technology giant has seen a leap in daily usage across Facebook and Instagram in the UK, making it unrivalled for potential advertising exposure.
Data from our UK media consumption tracker for the first three months of 2022 shows that Facebook chalked up a 6.6 percentage point increase in the number of British consumers using the platform daily (from 30 December 2021 to 28 March 2022). Likewise, Instagram has recorded a 6.7 percentage point increase.
It means the two platforms, which already dominate market share in the UK, are growing usage at a faster rate than any of their competitors. However, TikTok also shows notable growth over the quarter, gaining the most new users (non-usage among UK working-age consumers declined by 3.7 percentage points to 51%).
Meanwhile, Twitter, which has just been bought by Elon Musk for $44bn (£34.5bn), records a more disappointing performance, with a 1.6 percentage point net loss in weekly users. The percentage of Brits who say they ‘never’ use the platform stands at 39.6% in comparison to Facebook’s 14.4%.
Also trending up in the first quarter of the year is radio listening. The data shows a 5.5 percentage point increase in UK consumers listening to the radio daily; this means 40% of Brits are now tuning in to their favourite stations each day.
Likewise, the number of people who listen to podcasts is growing, with conversion of non-listeners into listeners. There’s been a 4.5 percentage point reduction in the number of people who say they never listen to podcasts. At the same time, we see a 3.7 percentage point increase in people listening to podcasts ‘a few times a week’.
In other audio consumption news, audio books are trending down, with a reduction in daily and weekly listeners, while streaming music makes modest gains.
The boxset bingeing many Brits engaged in during lockdown is long gone; the Q1 data shows a 3.6 percentage point decline in people watching subscription streaming platforms for more than four hours a day, bringing the figure down to just 5.7%. Meanwhile, we see a 5.7 percentage point increase in the more modest viewing time of 1-2 hours.
Viewing of live TV and free on-demand services is also trending down in the first quarter. Nearly a quarter of Brits don’t watch any live TV now (1.7 percentage point increase), and 24% don’t watch free on-demand services (2.4 percentage point increase). However, the time Brits spend watching TV overall (all types combined) has increased slightly since the beginning of the year, with top shows for the quarter being Bridgerton and Peaky Blinders.
Paid streaming services hold firm, with a 1 percentage point reduction in the number of consumers who say they don’t watch any. Netflix, which made headlines recently for losing subscribers for the first time in a decade (and subsequently took a giant hit to its share price), appears to still be going strong in the UK. It shows a 4 percentage point increase in the number of people watching the platform at least once a week.
However, rival Disney+ chalks up a 7.3 percentage point increase in weekly viewers, indicating faster growth (37.6% of Brits now watch the platform regularly). Amazon Prime, Netflix’s closest competitor, also achieves a 3.3 percentage point boost in weekly viewers, but still lags behind, with 47.4% of Brits watching regularly in comparison to Netflix’s 76.4%.
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