These markets are ditching their TV to watch live shows on their phone

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
January 14, 2021, 5:16 PM UTC

Most consumers in India are opting to watch live television on smaller personal devices, new YouGov data shows, and other markets aren’t far behind. 

Research conducted in December 2020 revealed nearly three in five adults in India (57%) had watched live TV on devices other than a television in the previous week, the highest rate among the 17 markets in which YouGov surveyed. 

India’s place on our list is likely the result surging mobile internet usage thanks to plummeting costs of mobile-phone ownership over the last few years. 

The rate of consumers watching live TV on phones, tablets or computers is ahead of Indonesia, where 47% have done so, and China (45%). 

The United Arab Emirates (40%) and Spain (37%) round out top five markets with the highest rate of consumers watching live TV not on a television. 

In the United Kingdom, just 17% of adults had watched TV on a device other than a TV in the previous week when asked in December, the lowest rate on our list. Personal devices are also a long way from dethroning televisions in the United States, where one in five consumers (20%) say they’ve watched live TV on a personal device. 

Consumers in other western nations, such as Germany (18%) and France (29%), are also less likely to be watching live TV on smaller devices. 

However, the advent of 5G technology and next-gen devices may accelerate live TV watching across the globe. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has of course had a role to play in shifting consumer television habits. A lack of live sports in the first half of 2020 stunted some cable subscriptions. And sustained stay-at-home orders in many regions has meant fewer are commuting or watching live content on-the-go on their personal devices. 

Meanwhile, we’re witnessing a proliferation of streaming options that include live TV, including the newly launched Peacock streaming service in the US, and Amazon Prime which now offers live rugby matches. An increase in the number of players in the streaming space has further pushed a migration away from traditional big-screen TV watching. 

This is valuable insight for marketers looking to maximize their digital advertising spending and tailor messaging across multiple markets. 

Methodology: YouGov Custom research was conducted in December 2020 across multiple markets. Sample sizes were between 514 and 2,256.

Image: Getty