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Omdia: Nonlinear Viewing Gaining in U.S., Europe, Australia

Nonlinear viewing continued to gain greater popularity in the daily viewing habits of TV users across the United States, Europe and Australia in 2021 with online long-form and social media video viewing growing beyond the previous year’s boom in viewing time, according to new research from Omdia.

Linear TV viewing time decreased in all markets in 2021. The ending of restrictions and lockdowns that marked most of 2020 was the primary cause, according to Omdia, with the continual shift toward on-demand viewing also driving this.

Omdia’s “Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report — 2022” found that across all the markets covered, average total daily viewing time reached 362 minutes per person per day in 2021 (6 hours and 2 minutes), down 0.5% from the previous year. Declines in linear TV, online short form and pay TV VOD accounted for this minor drop in viewing with the former seeing the sharpest falls. Growth in online long-form and social media video viewing however counterbalanced these declines, leaving overall viewing to drop by just 2 minutes.

In a statement, senior analyst Rob Moyser said “in highly developed markets such as the U.S. and the U.K., 2021 will likely be the last year where linear TV predominates over non-linear TV viewing.”

“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,” he added.

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Online long form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by incumbent online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, and the launch of several new OTT services, such as Discovery+ and Paramount+, according to Omdia. In total, long-form viewing grew by 8 minutes, reaching 68 minutes, 8 minutes ahead of 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 analyzed. TikTok was the standout performer for video growth during the year, with the platform set to overtake Facebook in total time spent for the first time in 2022.

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