Subscription streaming services still lag broadcasters on average viewing time, TAM Ireland finds

Ratings body TAM Ireland has installed Nielsen technology in a panel of Irish homes to track usage of subscription video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms

Adults here spent an average of 159 minutes a day watching television broadcasters’ offerings in the first half of 2022, compared to 21 minutes a day watching subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime, according to TAM Ireland.

The television industry ratings body has published its first streaming usage data following the establishment of a new panel of 400 households, which it is using to track “total video” consumption through Nielsen media measurement technology installed in these homes.

The organisation, which measures viewing on behalf of the majority of commercial broadcasters operating in the Irish market as well as the main advertising agencies, had previously used survey data to estimate video-on-demand trends.

TAM Ireland said the Nielsen data was a “gold standard” independent and internationally-recognised measurement.


The early findings also place the average length of time spent consuming video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram ahead of average subscription video-on-demand consumption times, with video-sharing platforms viewed for 35 minutes a day, primarily via mobile devices.

Among 25-44 year-olds, broadcaster content was watched for an average of 103 minutes, still well ahead of the 38 minutes spent on video-sharing platforms and 30 minutes devoted to subscription video-on-demand services.

Among 15-34 year-olds, the average minutes spent viewing broadcaster content remained the largest single block of time, arriving at 65 minutes per day, but the gap between this and other forms of viewing was much smaller.

Viewers aged 15-34 spent 60 minutes a day watching video-sharing platforms and 32 minutes consuming subscription video-on-demand. When combined, the time spent viewing video-sharing sites and subscription streamers among this demographic comfortably exceeds the time spent watching broadcasters’ content either through their linear channels or their on-demand players.

While individuals’ viewing habits may vary significantly, the data shows that average consumption times across all adults are still weighted towards the output of traditional television broadcasters.

In the UK, Netflix recently signed up to have programme viewership measured by industry body BARB ahead of the launch of cheaper subscription plans that carry advertising. The ad-supported plans are now available in 12 countries, including the UK, though a date has not yet been announced for the Irish market and the streamer has not signed up to TAM Ireland as it has to BARB.

The initial BARB ratings suggested 1.11 million people in the UK watched The Crown on Netflix the day that it was added to the platform, compared to 7.59 million who viewed that night’s episode of I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!

The Netflix figure does not include people who streamed it on devices such as laptops, tablets and mobiles, while a drama is always more likely to be consumed over a longer period of time than an entertainment series such as I’m a Celebrity.

The data has nevertheless provided some comfort to commercial broadcasters as they seek to combat the competitive threat to their revenues posed by technology companies.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics