SOMETIMES tech revolutions are so quiet that you don't notice them till they're already in full swing. Such is the case with streaming pay-TV services which have shot up in their usage in recent months.
A new survey from the Office of National Statistics has shown that almost half of all adults have watched Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV or one of their smaller rivals in the last three months.
The 'Internet Access and Use' report is produced annually. The same survey in 2016 showed less than a third answered yes to the same question.
It's no surprise, therefore, that whilst internet-enabled homes are still around the 90 per cent mark, the usage of those connections has gone up, with 86 per cent saying that the use the internet daily or almost daily, up from 80 per cent last year.
84 per cent use it for email, easily the most popular use case in the survey.
In the US, where the IPTV market is more mature, over half the country's internet traffic is used for Netflix alone, and it seems we may well be heading the same way - after all, most TVs can be made "smart" with just a dongle from Amazon or Roku.
Elsewhere in the survey, for the first time, 100 per cent of houses with children are recorded as having the internet, so nor more using that as an excuse not to do homework, kids.
Other causes for the internet usage to rise include viewing YouTube (and rivals) videos, which is up from 47 per cent to 62 per cent. That figure includes an uneven split with males more likely to watch videos. Females are however far more engaged in social media.
Listening to music streams is up from 49 per cent to 58 per cent, internet banking is up from 60 per cent to 69 per cent and the selling (not buying) of goods and services has risen from 18 per cent to 25 per cent.
But its the rise of the internet as a TV feed that is the most interesting as its growth looks to be potentially huge again this year, with premium services from YouTube, rumours of new services from Apple and Disney, as well as plans to expand on demand programme libraries from Sky and BBC. Both are already experimenting with first-run original content. Of course, lest we forget, the BBC saw this coming.
When we were all moaning about the removal of BBC Three from linear television, it saw the rise of the youth-streaming market. Now it gets to say it told us so. As do we. μ
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