Banal Broadcasts Bore Brits, Reports Researcher

26 April 2002

Fatigue tires you; alcohol can make people drunk; jumping from skyscrapers injures the health; and tedious TV programmes bore viewers – the latter being the startling conclusion of a survey into the viewing habits of Britons conducted for the Discovery Channel by the Henley Centre.

According to the study, around half the UK’s box-watching population are so bored by the medium that they consciously remember nothing about the programmes they see. And one third of respondent only watch TV for want of something better to do.

However, the study, which sampled one thousand people to probe their viewing habits, offers a smidgin of optimism to TV programme-makers: 74% of viewers said that television gave them something to talk about with friends and strangers.

Another ray of hope – 59% of respondents chose TV as their primary media source of trustworthy information, whereas only 16% turned first to newspapers and 8% relied on radio as their main source of news. And another gleam: 80% felt TV had opened their minds to new ideas.

The study also uncovered a few curios. Forty-one per cent of those sampled thought that media coverage was “too topical”! Others though it was “ tailored to the agenda of media executives” and consequently failed to satisfy consumers’ curiosity.

Comments Henley Centre sociologist Laurie Taylor: “As a nation we have a voracious and healthy appetite for feeding and satisfying our curiosity, yet are left frustrated by what society and the media serve up. We're often left struggling to extract the relevant nuggets of information that will bring us real contentment.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff