France’s TV Viewing Habits in 2018
“In 2018 more than ever, multiscreen consumption – TV, computer, smartphone and tablet – has played a part in the growth of the medium and the television experience. Every day, these screens draw more than 44 million viewers,” commented Julien Rosanvallon, Executive Director of Digital and TV at Médiamétrie in his opening statement given at the TV Viewing Habits in 2018 annual conference.
“Already in 2017, we had noticed greater convergence in TV, Internet and video usages. These practices are still growing and are supplementing and complementing one other. However, the television set keeps its attractiveness, remaining the TV viewers’ screen of choice for major sporting events and current affairs stories in 2018,” he added.
Content viewed on demand and across all screens
The transformation and enhancement of the audio-visual experience continued in 2018.
New TV viewing practices – catch-up and online viewing – continued their expansion. On a daily basis in 2018, more than 7.2 million French people viewed catch-up TV for over an hour (1hr 3mins). This practice has grown by 26% in two years, encouraged by better TV reception via fibre and broadband internet.
Internet screens are also a factor in this change with 40% of homes now equipped with 4 screens (TV, smartphone, computer and tablet). Additionally, in 2018, 4.5 million French people tuned in for 1hr 16mins daily to watch TV programmes on their computer, tablet or smartphone. This practice has grown by almost 30% in two years.
Fiction in particular benefited from these new ways of watching TV programmes, with audience numbers boosted thanks to catch-up and online viewing. Fiction, a popular genre in France, garnered 50% of catch-up viewing across all screens and 1/3 of programming viewed online.
For some particular series, preview, catch-up and online even accounted for over 2/3 of the total audience.
Finally, SVoD, the latest element in the audio-visual landscape, is adopted by more and more households, attracting 4.6 million French viewers each day.
Almost four hours of television daily
On a daily basis, French viewers are tuning in to TV programmes for 3 hours and 46 minutes, when all screens and all locations are combined.
Thanks to an exceptionally rich year of sporting events and current affairs stories, the TV set played a key role in maintaining a strong performance for the medium. It won:
3 hours and 36 minutes of the daily viewing time among French audiences. That figure was 6 minutes down on the year before, but 12 minutes up on 10 years ago.
The most “weather-sensitive” of the media, TV was especially affected by record high temperatures. 2018 was the warmest year since 1900, with an extended summer during which many French people extended their holidays. This decrease in TV viewing hours in 2018 can also be partly explained by the growth of SVoD and pirated sports content, a phenomenon that is emerging as competition for the traditional broadcasts.
Nevertheless, TV continues to be strongly rooted in the daily life of French people: 60% of them watch TV at least four evenings a week. And their numbers are not in decline: although the renowned audience peak was 24.1 million French viewers in 2008, the figure today is not far off with 23.9 million TV viewers at 9:29pm.
2018 was of course a Football World Cup year. By itself, this tournament filled the 22 highest rankings in the Top 50 programmes for the year. In addition, the World Cup encouraged households to buy new high-tech TVs: in the 2nd quarter of 2018, on the eve of the global sporting event, 95% of households equipped with a TV had an HD television and 66% owned a smart TV. That represents an increase of 3.1% compared to the same time in 2017. Therefore, the TV set is still the most common media equipment installed in French homes.
Finally, the “Yellow Vest” movement also drew in audiences with 151 hours of programming between November 6th and the end of the year.
Overall, in spite of a changing audio-visual landscape, TV is as essential as it ever was, accounting for almost 90% of video viewing time by the French in 2018. “We already measure TV content exhaustively, but from 2020, we will be able to furnish daily audiences across all screens and in all locations,” Julien Rosanvallon concluded.
Please click on the icon to download the comprehensive press release.