It seems that Shane Smith, chief executive of Vice, stirred up a wasps’ nest at the Edinburgh International TV Festival. He accused UK TV bosses of ignoring those young adults branded as Millennials or Gen Y by the marketing industry, and not providing programmes which appeal to them.  It’s worth bearing in mind that Vice (based in US) is about to launch its Viceland TV channel in the UK via Sky and Now.  Mr Smith’s pugnacious remarks have not only raised the hackles of those TV industry bosses, but have also raised the profile of Viceland.  He knows how to get ink!

Watch our video and get the facts & figures in 57 seconds!


Most UK TV bosses appear to be mostly happy with their own efforts at attracting and retaining this group, however, he isn’t the only person claiming that TV is digging its own grave.  Research by Enders Analysis (commissioned by Liz Warner, formerly of Channel 4) reveals that TV is middle aged, with 42 being the age of your average Brit and also the age of the average viewer of E4, designed to be a youth channel.

For counter balance, Netflix’s demographic sits squarely 18 to 34.  Will revivals of Porridge and Are You Being Served? draw Millennials to the BBC?  Against a backdrop of new programming from Amazon Studios and YouTube, and the enormous sums of cash at their disposal, it doesn’t look good long-term for our traditionally financed, native TV companies who cannot afford to be complacent.

The Ofcom report, The Communications Market 2016, reveals trends and how TV viewing will develop based on the current patterns for 16 to 24 year olds.

Key facts:

  • Watching recorded, on-demand and online content has increased to 59% in 2016 from 36% in 2014.
  • Watching live TV drops from 50% in 2014 to 36% in 2016.
  • Watching of paid-for on-demand services up to 20%, from 6% in 2014.
  • Weekly reach of paid-for on-demand has increased to 57% (highest reach of any age group) from 33% in 2014, with Netflix the most popular service at 23% all adult weekly reach contrasted with Amazon Instant Video at 7%.
  • Almost 1 in 3 of all Netflix users sign up “to watch original shows made by the provider”, with almost 1 in 5 Amazon users quoting the same reason. This can only escalate. The stakes are high with a reported $3.8m spent by Amazon on each House of Cards episode.  39% and 38% of Netflix users sign up for access to either the back catalogue of TV programmes which they offer, or the films respectively – still the highest reasons for signing up, but with the increasing investment in original programming and the increasing commitment to promote the shows to wider groups of people, more people will cite the new content as a reason to commit.


Source for data:

  • GfK SVoD Tracker, Q4 2015
  • Average age of viewers: BBC1 and BBC 2 62yrs – ITV 60yrs – Channel 5 58yrs – Channel 4 55 yrs – E4 42yrs  (Source: Enders Analysis)
  • Ofcom Digital Day 2016. Universe: 1,512 Adults aged 16+