UK TV viewers watch 47 ads a day

20 February 2013
LONDON: Consumers in the UK watched a total of 2.7bn television ads during 2012, equivalent to the average viewer seeing 47 commercials a day, new figures have shown.

Viewing data from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) reveal that the number of commercial impacts during the past year remained at the same level as the previous year.

And despite the growth in time-shift viewing and watching programmes on digital devices, linear TV viewing remains the preferred option of UK consumers, accounting for four hours and one minute of their time each day.

"Linear TV is the bedrock of how we watch TV and that is not going to change," said Lindsey Clay, Managing Director of Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK.

The great majority of linear TV viewing is 'live', as the programming is broadcast, although at 89.9% of the total, there was a slight decrease compared to 2011 when the comparable figure was 90.3%.

Commercial TV accounted for two thirds of linear viewing in 2012, a similar proportion to the previous year. But among a younger audience of 16-34 year olds this number rose to 74%.

Separate figures from Thinkbox show that viewers watched the equivalent of three 30-minute episodes on non-TV devices each month. These were mostly on-demand using services such as ITV Player, Sky Go, 4OD and BBC iPlayer.

But with the spread of internet-connected TV sets, Thinkbox expects that some on-demand viewing, which currently takes place on other devices, will move back to the main TV set, as that is the preferred screen on which to watch.

"Viewing via personal devices … is relatively small, but it is growing rapidly and helping TV as a whole to expand," said Clay. "This is … great for advertisers for whom TV - the biggest digital medium - is expanding."

BARB figures also indicate a slowing in the growth of timeshift viewing, which in 2012 stood at 10.1% of the total. Thinkbox expects this figure to plateau at around 15% once all households have the ability to digitally record TV programmes.

Most timeshift viewing takes place soon after broadcast: 81% of all was done with within seven days of recording, and 47% within 24 hours.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff
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