YouTube beats the BBC popularity with new wave of content consumers

21 March 2017 – YouTube tops the list of media brands people feel most positively about, according to a new study from researcher Trinity McQueen that explores the future of media consumption among an audience who are moving away from traditional media channels.

The research, which canvassed unbound consumers – those who reject scheduled and physical media – against a national online sample, explored TV and video, news and music consumption habits in an unbound world.

This was compared with a national sample, who selected the following:

  • BBC (35%)
  • YouTube (20%)
  • Netflix (10%)
  • ITV (8%)
  • Facebook (5%)

For this group, identified as “unbound customers”, the brands they felt most positive about were:

  • YouTube (21%)
  • BBC (20%)
  • Netflix (16%)
  • ITV (6%)
  • Facebook (6%)

Only two traditional media brands – the BBC and ITV – featured in the top five for unbound audiences from a line-up that included Channel 4, Amazon Prime and Now TV. Surprisingly, digital platforms dominate the list for the national demographic too, confirming that our viewing habits are changing to the point of no return and reflecting the wholesale degree to which on demand media is part of everyday media consumption.

The study found that new content was a key factor in a media brand’s popularity – unbound audiences were most likely to believe YouTube always has new content (46%), while the national sample tended to pick the BBC (48%). Only 35% of unbound consumers felt the BBC always has new content.

Unsurprisingly, both samples felt that Facebook offered the most personalised experience (41% with unbound; 35% with national) while YouTube offered the best overall online experience (41% with national; 43% with unbound).

The research comes as Trinity McQueen launches its “Audiences Unbound” study, which looks into the growing audience moving away from traditional content consumption and towards new digital and on-demand platforms.

Chris Handford, Director at Trinity McQueen, said: “The move towards digital media consumption appears to be accelerating, with huge implications for broadcasters. Unbound audiences – those who reject scheduled and physical media – have grown from a niche group of early adopting millennials to the edges of the mainstream within just a few years. They are throwing off the shackles of established media channels, embracing boundless choice and flexibility, whilst consuming more media than other audience groups.”

“We are now in a world where schedules and ownership of content are upended – there is no appointment to view, no channel surfing, no water cooler moments, no building of book or music collections. Unbound audiences today span all ages and demographics, and their habits are determining the future of media consumption. Our study indicates that broadcasters are failing to deliver the experience and fresh content these audiences seek, especially for under 34s who consider YouTube and Netflix more important than traditional outlets.”

The study surveyed 500 unbound consumers as well as a nationally representative control group of a further 500 people. The survey was followed up using mobile ethnography (with respondents completing a daily diary) and qualitative video interviews.

The brands included in the questionnaire were: YouTube, BBC, Facebook, ITV, Netflix, Channel 4, Daily Mail, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter, Snapchat, Amazon Prime, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The Sun, Now TV, The Huffington Post, Apple Music, Unilad, Google Play, The Independent, The Times, Deezer, The Economist, Financial Times, Last FM, The Poke, Tidal, Napster, Upworthy.


For more information, please contact:

Bhavna Mistry, Velvet PR, 0208 996 1802;

Helen Salvin, Velvet PR, 0208 996 1803;

About Trinity McQueen

Trinity McQueen is one of the UK’s fastest growing insight agencies (source: Market Research Society 2016).  Currently turning over £5m in fees, it specialises in media, advertising, retail, FCMG and financial services.

To find out more visit or follow us on Twitter @TrinityMcQueen.