Paid downloads unpopular as Irish youth consume majority of TV content online

20 Mar 2013

A survey conducted last week by youth charity reveals how young people in Ireland are consuming TV. That is, most commonly, without the traditional TV set, and for many the TV schedule is also a thing of the past as they choose to watch shows on demand when it suits them.

More than half (53pc) of Irish people aged 16-25 now consume the majority of their TV content online. As the demographic ages, online viewing decreases, with 43pc of 26 to 34-year-olds, 13.5pc of 35 to 49-year-olds and just 5pc of over 50s saying the majority of their TV consumption happens online.

Just 32pc of the 16-25 age group choose to watch TV shows live, as they air, while 15pc avail of catch-up TV using a DVR or other playback service.

For those under 25, 25pc admitted to streaming content illegally while 10pc get their content through illegal downloads.

While one-fifth of young people made use of legal online sources of TV content, none of those surveyed preferred paid downloads as a method of consuming TV content. Free streaming playback was the most popular legal online form at 9pc, followed by paid-for streaming services like Netflix at 6pc and live-streaming through an official player at 5pc.

Changing TV habits

“The survey is an interesting insight into the TV habits of a younger, digitally native generation and will make for interesting reading for broadcasters and advertisers alike,” said Ian Power of “Online players have been quick to improve and monetise their service but it should be of concern that illegal methods still outstrip legal downloads and streaming amongst younger people. This may have something to do with the availability of TV series on official players after they expire and delays in broadcasting the latest episodes of US imports.”

Tonight at 8pm, celebrates the relaunch of its website with a live 30-minute webcast made by 124 young people, where they will discuss social issues relevant to young people in Ireland. The broadcast will be hosted by RTÉ’s Stephen Byrne and feature a performance from 16-year-old Derry-based singer-songwriter SOAK.

Teens online image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.