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YouTube to overtake Netflix on TV screens this year, predicts EssenceMediacom

YouTube will “leapfrog” Netflix on viewership on big screens in 2024, according to Robyn Sumner, business director at brand marketing agency EssenceMediacom in the UK.

EssenceMediacom is owned by global advertising and media investment firm GroupM, which also owns production company GroupM Motion Entertainment (previously known as Motion Content Group).

Posting one of his New Year predictions for the content industry on LinkedIn, Sumner referenced data from Barb which found that hours spent with YouTube on TV grew by 32% in 2023, while Netflix’s growth diminished to just 0.4%.

“If this rate continues, we will see them swap places, in terms of average daily viewing, in December 2024,” Sumner said.

“While commercial TV and the BBC will continue to dominate, with over 60% of all TV viewing, competition for the third spot is hotting up.”

One factor which will put YouTube ahead of Netflix is increased access to the former on TV sets, Sumner argued, noting the proportion of Google and Android connected TV sets will continue to grow, having added over 10% market share in three years in the UK. This puts the YouTube app and recommended videos “front and centre of 35% of UK homes,” he said.

The cost-of-living crisis will also contribute to YouTube’s dominance, Sumner added, as more viewers opt for cheaper, ad-funded platforms. “With the average cost of a VoD subscription set to be over 18% higher than a year ago, 2024 could see Netflix’s subscriber base drop to five percentage points below its 2022 peak,” the exec said.

Consumption will also play a part, as “YouTube has something for everyone,” Sumner continued. “Kids love watching gaming videos, while adults enjoy a variety of shows, from how-to guides to entertainment. It is no wonder that YouTube is bringing back the 30-second unskippable advertising spot for TV buys.”

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