TV’s Generation Gap: the future of British TV

31 Aug • 4 min read

Young people are now watching seven times less television than people aged 65 and over. Surprised? No, we weren’t exactly either. But what does this mean for the future of telly in this country?

An Ofcom report revealed that those aged 16-24 are watching less than an hour of TV a day, while those over 65 are clocking up just under six hours of viewing time.

On paper, you might be thinking these numbers are purely down to younger people simply spending less time at home due to all the outside distractions that come with youth. That doesn’t quite paint the whole picture though.

Cost of living crisis

In the wake of the ongoing cost of living crisis, don’t be surprised to see the next report produce a slightly different outcome. Ofcom largely attributed the most recent set of figures to one in five UK households subscribing to Netflix, Amazon and Disney +. We know that’s no longer the case however. Since the turn of the year, Netflix alone has revealed a loss of over 1 million of its subscribers.

So, does this mean we’re about to see the youth flock back to their TV screens? Perhaps. With pursestrings tightening and more variety of cracking telly that’s free to watch than ever, we might see even more people ditching hefty subscription platforms for more cost-effective options.

Short-form/short attention span

In many ways, younger generations spending less time in front of the box has nothing to do with the quality of TV on offer at all. The small screen has simply been replaced by an even smaller one.

The report went on to show that 93% of 15-17 year olds get their daily news from Youtube, 90% on Instagram and 73% on TikTok. As younger generations’ attention spans get shorter, so does the form in which they take in their daily information.

Getting behind the nation

However, the tug of war between traditional broadcasters and social media/streaming platforms is completely blown out of the water whenever there’s a national event. Whether it’s the Queen’s Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games or the Women’s Euros, we still flock to our traditional TV screens to soak up the country’s biggest occasions.

With all that said, do you think the future of telly in this country is in jeopardy? Or, will the great British telly tradition continue to inspire another generation.