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Online TV will ‘overtake linear’ in 2016

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Netflix series Orange is the New Black

Linear TV viewing around the world will peak this year and online viewing will take over from 2016, according to a new research from ZenithOptimedia.

There has been a sharp uptick in the amount of time people spend consuming online video in 2015, with Zenith forecasting a full-year, year-on-year, increase of 23.3%.

“ZenithOptimedia predicts that the number of people regularly watching traditional, linear TV will peak this year, and will start to decline for the first time in 2016,” the media buying agency said in a research note issued this morning.

The wide uptake of tablets and smartphones is driving the change with video consumption on mobile devices set to increase 43.9% this year.

The numbers of linear viewers around the world will, Zenith says, increase this year but then the growth will tail off from 2016 onwards.

“The amount of time people spend watching linear TV has been in slow decline for several years; we now predict that next year the number of viewers to start to decline as well,” Zenith said.

The report noted that linear viewing is already in decline in major markets including the US, UK, France and Russia. It will begin to fall in China as well this year.

Zenith said: “The decline of linear TV viewing is in direct correlation with the increasing quantity and quality of content available online, both from short-form platforms like YouTube and long-form platforms like Netflix. We forecast that the number of regular online video viewers will increase by 5.8% in 2015, 5.1% in 2016 and 5.3% in 2017.”