Streaming v live TV: Who is winning the battle?

'Streaming has thrown us all off because it suits our times - it's all there for you'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.22 16 Jan 2024

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Streaming v live TV: Who is wi...

Streaming v live TV: Who is winning the battle?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.22 16 Jan 2024

Share this article

Streaming services have given people the convenience to watch what they want when they want, but there is still a fear of missing out.

David O'Callaghan from the Here and Back Again podcast was speaking as research suggests on-demand viewing could overtake live TV in the UK this year.

Across all devices, live TV accounted for 44% of total video viewing in 2022, British regulator Ofcom said.


Together with recorded playback and broadcaster video-on-demand, all content from broadcasters accounted for 60% of total video viewing.

Mr O'Callaghan told Henry McKean for Moncrieff the big difference is convenience.

"Streaming drops in the middle of the night when you're asleep, you wake up and it's all there waiting for you - you can suit your own time," he said.

"If it's something on terrestrial or linear TV like Traitors, I call it the watercooler fear.

"If you arrive into work the next day and you haven't seen it - forget it, you're done, you're toast.

"I think that's where people are gathering around their TVs and trying to catch it.

"Other than that streaming has thrown us all off because it suits our times.

"If it's all there for you, you'll watch it in your own time - but then, if it's the fear of missing out and getting spoilers, you'll watch it straight away."

TV remote control A TV and remote control. Image: Deyan Georgiev - Premium RF / Alamy

Mr O'Callaghan said DVR devices have also changed the game.

"If you can record it and it's add free, you're gaining 17 minutes of your life back," he said.

"So, if you add that up over 10 episodes that's a lot of minutes in your life.

"Also with podcasts people are now speeding up their podcasts just a little bit so they can listen to more podcasts".

Henry said the decline seems to be due to younger demographics.

"The experts say the decline is due to a younger audience," he said.

"They've grown up in an environment where it's just on-demand; they don't understand that whole situation where you're sitting on the sofa watching [live TV]".

'Using them for different things'

On the streets of Dublin, one person told Henry they would watch live TV when they eat dinner.

"6pm having dinner, TV news - and then later on at 8pm sitting down to watch Netflix," they said.

Another person said they only watch one thing on live TV.

"Just really the news, I don't really watch anything else.

"We watch it when we're having our dinner - we just listen to it as we eat."

One man said he wouldn't turn to live TV "unless there's something specific on."

One woman said she would stream more than watching live TV.

"I think that there's different people who use them both for different things," she said.

"Streaming means that things can be rewatched, which is good, but there's always the benefit of watching things for the first time live on TV.

"Over the Christmas we were watching I'm a Celebrity, so that's one of the things that I would only watch live.

"Knowing that I'm watching it live as it's happening is [good]," she added.

Most watched TV in Ireland

Viewing figures for last year show The Late Late Toy Show hit the number one spot.

The TAM Ireland/Nielsen Media ratings put the Rugby World Cup at number two with almost 1.4 million people viewing the Ireland v New Zealand match.

Most watched TV in Ireland for 2023 Most watched TV in Ireland for 2023. Source: TAM Ireland

The All-Ireland Finals also formed part of the top 10.

Overall sport claimed over 60% of the top 50 programmes with news, current affairs and entertainment featuring heavily.

Listen back here:

Main image: A television with video streaming services and a remote control. Picture by: Michael Zech / Alamy

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Broadcasters Audience Research Board DVR David O’Callaghan Henry McKean Live TV Moncrieff Streaming TAM Ireland/Nielsen Media Tv Viewing

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