One Television Year in the World

Press release
A converging trend in TV viewing worldwide

According to Glance report “One TV Year in the World”, in 2019 global individual television viewing time (IVT) was 2 hours and 48 minutes, which means a relative long-term stability. A figure that has jumped in the first months of 2020 due to the global health context, broadcasters adapting their offer. Online and catch up viewing play an increasing role.

Frédéric Vaulpré, Vice-President of Glance: “we have been witnessing an increasing trend towards a convergence of television viewing worldwide across the 94 countries analysed in our report. The disparities between the different continents have been diminishing, particularly between North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, which have been stabilising at an approximate viewing time of 3 hours and 40 minutes. Asia and Oceania, which are historically lower consumers of the small screen, have shown individual viewing times of 2 hours 20 minutes and 2 hours 11 minutes per day respectively. Overall, we have been noticing a certain long-term stability, with an IVT level comparable to that of the early 2000s.

Frédéric Vaulpré adds: “the unusual global health context at the beginning of 2020 and the generalised lock down of populations is generating an atypical increase in television viewing times worldwide, with peaks up to +30% and +40% of IVT reached in certain countries. This confirms the essential role of television both as an information source and as a means to maintain a link, a connection with the outside world.”

Audiences are flourishing due to online viewing and catch-up TV is becoming the norm

Internet screens have become essential in recent years. They enable channels to attract new viewers and facilitate access to the content on offer. Computers, tablets and smartphones are ubiquitous in younger generations and boost TV ratings. 

It is particularly true for certain types of programmes, such as reality TV, which young audiences watch avidly. For example, in France, 41% of the global audience watch the programme Les Marseillais vs le reste du monde broadcast on W9 online, while Love Island, broadcast on itv2 in the United Kingdom, is watched by close to 990,000 online users.

On the other hand, in Germany, the most watched genre online is local drama series, such as Die Verlorene Tochter, first broadcast in January 2020, where 18% of the audience watches on digital screens.

At the same time, catch-up TV continues to be an increasingly common practice. In the 39 countries where catch-up TV is measured, an average of 16 minutes per day are dedicated to this activity. Daily catch-up TV viewing can be more than 20 minutes in some countries such as the USA (28 min), the UK (29 min) and Belgium (30 min).

2019 Star Content

In the 32 territories surveyed in 2019, reality TV ranked the highest, and in particular non-fiction series*. Of the 32 best launches identified, 12 were non-fiction programmes, i.e. 5 more programmes than in 2018.

Lego Masters, for example, is an English format by Endemol Shine International, adapted in Australia. This building challenge using the mythical toy, broadcast on Nine Network, is the best launch of the year in terms of audience. Programmes following the daily life of high-risk professions such as Kamp Waes in Belgium or 113 in Norway also do well and monopolize the top national spots.

As far as fiction goes, although the genre still reigns supreme in terms of audiences with a majority of local productions, special features emerge. Some niche programmes, now broadcast on major national channels, attract a lot of viewers. This is the case of the fantasy series His Dark Materials on BBC One, the best launch of the year in the UK, and the science fiction series The Grave on Keshet 12, Israel's number one newcomer, dethroning entertainment programmes for the first time in 4 years. Some channels are also setting out again to conquer new genres, such as TF1 in France with a very satisfactory launch of the historical fiction Le Bazar de la Charité.

As for Turkey, after the successful launch of the adaptation of the Ezel series on Pro TV in Romania, 3 other adaptations of Turkish fictions are on the horizon. These are adaptations of Fatmagul for the Spanish channel Antena 3, Black Money Love and Persona, for the Mexican audience.

2020 Trends

The unusual global health context, with nearly 3 billion people locked down, is changing media behaviour, particularly in the audio-visual sector. Many market players have adapted their programme strategy to fit this new scenario.

Avril Blondelot, Director of Content Insight at Glance explains: “At the beginning of the year, a program concept, cloud entertainment, became a household word, especially in China. Based on entertainment, it allows several people to interact from home via their webcam and the internet connection with a host or celebrity artist. A perfect illustration of this concept is the Chinese Cloud Interaction programme which features several personalities called in the studio by a host who involves them in various games and challenges. Just recently in France, Tous en Cuisine, en direct avec Cyril Lignac on M6 has been following the same trend".

As far as action series are concerned, the trend in 2020 continues to be towards the reversal of gender stereotypes. The action scenes persist but the psychology of the characters is more intricate. 9-1-1 Lone star, for example, is a spin-off of the classic in the genre (9-1-1, which follows the daily lives of American police and firefighters). It focuses on male fragility. It is the best launch in the United States and Canada in 2020 so far.

Finally, on a lighter note, two themes also stand out on this year's national top list: the appeal of the countryside for city dwellers and programmes featuring pets, especially dogs. The countryside, popular in Spain, is the backdrop for several successful series such as El Pueblo, an 8-episode comedy broadcast on Telecinco. As for pets, they are a successful feature in programmes filled with positive energy, such as Fra BØlle Til Bestevenn in Norway, where a trainer's mission is to turn aggressive dogs into man's best friends. Finally, in Australia, Pooch Perfect organises a dog grooming competition in the same setting as the local adaptation of The Great British Bake Off.

* Glance / NoTa - Top 1 programme in 32 territories covered on NoTa, ranked by Average rate %, based on the first episode of new factual, fiction and entertainment series launched in 2019.

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Confidence interval calculus

Sample size or target in the sample

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Proportion observed in the sample or on a target in the sample

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Warning: only applies to a proportion. The Average Rate is an average of proportions and the Audience Share a ratio of proportions. This tool is provided for information purposes. It cannot be applied for professional purposes without further precautions.

Test of significance of the differences between two proportions

Used to assess whether the difference between 2 proportions is significant at the 95% threshold


Sample size

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2nd sample


Warning: only applies to a proportion. The Average Rate is an average of proportions and the Audience Share a ratio of proportions. This tool is provided for information purposes. It cannot be applied for professional purposes without further precautions.

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