Although many argue that live television viewing is on the decline, recent reports show that catch up viewing figures have been on the rise and are paving the cracks for their live transmission programmes.

In 2014, according to BARB data, 57 million adult TV impacts were delivered outside the day of the “live” scheduled transmission date. In the same year approximately 6.4% of all adult impacts were delivered against a programme on a different day to when it was first transmitted. In 2015, we see this number increase to 7.1% and increase yet again to 7.4% this year.

Although this hasn’t happened as fast as some media gurus might have expected, the pattern is still apparent and shows no signs of slowing down. As expected, there are some programmes where this delayed viewing is more prevalent and conversely, some programmes where viewers will not miss out by skipping the first airing. If an advertiser wanted to target a show that has a large proportion of viewing outside of its first transmission, there are simple strategies that can be applied to create an advert that is more conducive to this type of viewing.

Delving into the 2016 BARB data a bit deeper, across the day of week in February and March, Mondays seem to over index, with 8.2% of all viewing being watched not on the same day as the first transmission. In February and March especially, Mondays offered a plethora of high profile programming and allow a good test bed to identify programmes that might be watched outside of their first day of transmission or otherwise.

The 9pm Monday slot was well contested with Sky Atlantics Vinyl, Fox’s Walking Dead, Channel 5’s return of The X-Files and also BBC2’s The People Vs OJ Simpson all of these programmes increasing their initial viewing by at least 90% once consolidated to include the catch up.

These Monday programmes all over indexed to the sub 55 and younger age group, however this skew becomes more prevalent when we look at the magnitude of the audience who watched at a later date. The Walking Dead and Vinyl featured an average uplift of 396% and 237% respectively according to BARB, although from a much smaller base and with their profile featuring almost double the amount of 16-34 adult viewers when compared to natural delivery.

In the short term, catch-up viewing will only increase – we expect this to reach 8% of all viewing by the end of the year. Video-on-Demand (on PC, mobiles and tablets) has been quick to adapt with creative solutions being tailored to the different platforms, but we have yet to see advertisers create specific creatives for catch up TV, which is still where the lion’s share of viewing occurs.

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