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Netflix is wrong: TV streaming uptake 'never going to be 100%' - expert

Tuesday, December 16th 2014 by Ellen Branagh

Streaming services may be more popular than ever, but they will never wipe out broadcast television, according to an expert.

Oliver Johnson, analyst at Point Topic, said the number of people streaming their entertainment is growing rapidly, and Christmas will see many households using the technology for their festive viewing rather than waiting for programmes.

But he said standard television – known as linear – will not be killed off by its non-linear counterpart.

He told Cable.co.uk: “The growth in total hours watched, streamed on non-linear, is increasing and is increasing quite rapidly but it’s never going to be 100%.

"Linear TV is very efficient at delivering programmes so if you want to broadcast a royal wedding the most efficient way for people to watch live is over the terrestrial broadcast network.

“Streaming serves a purpose, broadcast television serves a purpose, so it will reach an equilibrium but one will never be wiped out by the other.”

He disagreed with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' recent claims that broadcast TV will be dead by 2030.

“We don’t believe that to be the case," Mr Johnson added.

Festive viewing

His comments come after a recent survey revealed that more than a third of those under the age of 35 plan to use on-demand services for Christmas entertainment.

The poll, carried out by OnePoll for streaming platform Roku, surveyed 1,000 UK adults about their festive viewing.

It found that under 35s are the most likely to take control of their Christmas viewing by using on-demand services, with 37% planning to stream their Christmas content.

According to the survey, Wales and Northern Ireland top the UK for streaming, with 40% of adults planning to use services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer over Christmas.

Mr Johnson said the findings come as no surprise, with people watching more television and video over the festive season, and taking advantage of new devices like iPads that they have received.

This year’s Ofcom International Communications Market Report (ICMR) revealed that just under a third (32%) of the online population in the UK use the internet to watch TV programmes or films at least once a week – the highest of any European country surveyed.

The regulator’s Infrastructure Report 2014, released earlier this month, also found that the number of UK homes with a TV set fell for the first time in several years, dropping from 26.33m at the end of 2012 to 26.02m at the end of 2013.

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