Millennials prefer YouTube how-to guides to TV's cooking and DIY shows

Prime-time cooking, gardening and DIY shows face the axe from TV schedules as young viewers tune into YouTube for home-making tips instead

  • ‘Leisure interest’ programmes down 46% among viewers aged 16-24  
  • Ofcom suggests the decline is down to the rise of online how-to videos 
  • Celebrity chefs earning millions of subscribers on YouTube tutorial channels 

Millennials are turning their backs on cookery and home improvement shows in favour of picking up tips on YouTube, figures suggest.

‘Leisure interest’ programmes, such as Changing Rooms, Ground Force and Nigella Lawson’s kitchen series, are down 46% among viewers aged 16-24 since 2014. 

Media watchdog Ofcom, which put together the data, said leisure viewing’s decline ‘may be due in part to younger audiences using YouTube to inform their interests and hobbies’, according to The Times.

Indeed, how-to guides and tutorials are among teenage users of the Google-owned site’s most popular videos – only narrowly behind movie trailers and video game clips.

Nigella Lawson’s prime-time cookery shows used to be unmissable television, but young people are now turning to online sources instead for their kitchen tips

Charlie Dimmock fronted hit shows such as Ground Force but home improvement-type programmes are down 46% among 16-24-year-olds

Adults are also enjoying tutorials, with figures suggesting they’re viewed more than funny videos that go viral or news and sports highlights, while the spike in demand has seen the likes of Jamie Oliver earn millions of subscribers by launching dedicated cookery channels on the site. 

Despite the trend, The Great British Bake Off still remains a hit with viewers, many of whom are young people, with some 6.9 million people tuning in for last year’s final on Channel 4, but the research suggests a more widespread dwindling audience of teenagers and young adults for leisure shows is a result of their changing schedules.

Linda Barker and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s Changing Rooms or the Charlie Dimmock and Alan Titchmarsh-fronted Ground Force for example drew in huge numbers in the late 1990s but since they were axed in the mid-2000s, DIY and cookery shows have failed to reach similar heights and so have been dropped from prime-time slots to daytime schedules instead. 

Changing Rooms, which featured, from left to right, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Anna Ryder Richardson, ‘Handy’ Andy Kane, Michael Jewitt, Linda Barker and Graham Wynne, was a huge hit in the late 1990s but similar shows now appear to have fallen by the wayside

Young people are increasingly looking to how-to guides and tutorials on YouTube rather than watching the once-popular leisure interest programmes

Ofcom found terrestrial TV operators are still struggling to get to grips with the rise of video on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, despite the growth of their own services such as BBC iPlayer and 4OD.

People spent 34 minutes a day on average watching YouTube, according to the data, with 16-to-24-year-olds enjoying more than double that number, while subscription video services drew an average of 26 minutes of viewing a day in 2018, up from 18 minutes in 2017.

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