Half of Northern Ireland homes subscribe to TV streaming services – Ofcom
Ofcom’s Jonathan Rose said the way viewers watch TV is ‘changing faster than ever before’.
Traditional broadcast TV viewing has dropped by more than an hour a day in the last decade, research has found.
More viewers in Northern Ireland are using streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Now TV or Disney Life.
According to research by communications regulator Ofcom, within the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach around half of the region’s homes.
In the last year alone the number of subscribers rose from 262,000 (36%) in 2018 to 340,000 (46%) in 2019, with Netflix emerging as the most popular platform.
However traditional TV still accounts for most TV time in Northern Ireland (82%).
The findings also revealed that the second episode of the first series of Derry Girls on Channel 4 was the most watched broadcast programme on TV sets in Northern Ireland in 2018, with an average audience of 608,000 and a share of 70% of those watching TV at that time.
The Ofcom research additionally revealed that radio is more popular in Northern Ireland than any other region of the UK, with 93% tuning in each week.
Local radio accounts for 60% of listening in Northern Ireland, far higher than to counterpart stations in Scotland (41%), Wales (31%) and England (31%).
Meanwhile traditional TV remains the most popular place for people to get their news.
TV channels make up five of the top 10 most-used news sources in 2019, with UTV and BBC One the most popular overall.
Social media sites are also highly used for news in Northern Ireland; over a third (35%) of people now say they use Facebook for news, while Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram also appear in the top 20 most-used news sources.
The findings are from Ofcom’s Media Nations: Northern Ireland 2019 report.
Jonathan Rose, director of Ofcom Northern Ireland, said the way viewers watch TV is “changing faster than ever before”.
“In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach around half of Northern Ireland homes,” he said.
“But traditional broadcasters, who produce brilliant Northern Ireland and UK programmes, still have a vital role to play.
“We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we’re leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting.”