Linear or non-linear

That’s the question that arises for the future. Will linear TV (channel) watching gradually disappear in favour of on-demand (PVR, VOD, SVOD, online, downloaded etc)? Will broadband be the way to deliver all TV, even linear, despite being “less efficient”?


The conventional wisdom is that change is slow and seldom 100%. Many industry reports suggest that SVOD is simply an “add-on” to payTV. Linear TV is important for many people today, and will be so in the foreseeable future. Here are two reports that provide some insight into where we are heading:

  • In the Netherlands linear TV watching is at 40%, though still the most popular category.
  • In the UK linear TV viewing stands at 60%.

This might well be due to broader availability of high bandwidth IP over cable, ADSL and fiber connections in the Netherlands, and more focus on traditional terrestrial and satellite broadcast delivery in the UK. But there are also differences in the TV content and distribution industries, and note that also the market research approaches may differ. It is tricky to compare the results; but the differences seem significant.

Linear or non-linear TV watching preferences may be something completely different than broadcast and online delivery, but there surely is a practical connection: non-linear TV needs online bandwidth.