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    Only one-third of young Belgian adults still watch TV

    Just over one-third (36%) of young adults in Belgium still watch traditional television, according to a study, published on Wednesday by the Deloitte consultancy. The study, conducted among 2,000 respondents aged 18 to 24 years, found that close to half had a subscription to an on-demand video service. Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and other similar services were thus more popular among young people than TV, it noted.

    The television and video industry has undergone spectacular changes in record time as consumers’ habits change rapidly, Deloitte noted. The availability of on-demand video in particular has brought about a marked swing in their behaviour. “Consumers expect interesting and attractive television and video programming, accessible at all times and in all places, in the format that best suits their immediate needs,” the study notes.

    Such demands are satisfied in particular by the major streaming platforms. Among Belgians of all ages, 25% have access to on-demand video services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. In the 18-24 age group, 47% do.

    Many TV channels have reacted to the online competition by proposing a broad spectrum of media libraries, rebroadcasting platforms and new formats, such as Auvio for the Belgian channel RTBF or RTL Play for RTL Belgium.

    Abou 48% of young people aged 18 to 24 regularly watch free online videos on platforms such as YouTube, while 40% regularly use on-demand video services such as Netflix whereas only 36% are still regular TV viewers.

    Will Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Google replace the traditional television channels? That’s hard to say: the rapid evolution of the market and its constant diversification prevent a simple prediction of the future, Deloitte responds.

    For the consulting firm, switching to digital will be a decisive factor. High-band fibre optic and 5G networks pave the way for a more flexible, mobile consumption of media content, while analytical techniques and artificial intelligence will improve recommendation functions, it notes.

    At the same time, on-demand video will continue to expand, it predicts. This will, however, not prevent traditional TV from keeping its place, due in particular to live programming such as football matches.

    In any event, the industry’s future looks ultra-dynamic, concludes the consulting firm, which expects a repositioning of new and existing actors on the value chain in a partially consolidated global market.

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times