TV viewing rises in UK

02 December 2010

LONDON: Consumers in the UK are now spending more time watching television, with advertisers also allocating greater resources to this medium.

Trade body Thinkbox stated the typical individual viewed 27 hours, 34 minutes of live, linear television per week between January and September 2010, equivalent to nearly four hours a day.

The median total - which only included TV sets - had increased by one hour 50 minutes when measured against the corresponding period last year, posting growth across all age groups.

Commercial TV took a 62% share, or just over 17 hours every seven days, marking an annual improvement of 49 minutes, and a surge reaching one hour 22 minutes on the five-year average.

Among the key contributors supporting this development is a wider range of channels, given 93% of households currently have access to digital platforms like Freeview.

An updated tracking system and rising usage of DVRs and video-on-demand also allow more choice, although previous Thinkbox research found 89% of people use VOD to catch-up with broadcast TV.

Its latest study demonstrated that "time-shifted" playback accounted for 6.8% of all TV viewing, hitting 13.3% in residences with digital TV recorders such as Sky+.

The number of commercial impacts, or TV spots consumed at normal speed, rose 5% in the opening nine months of 2010 on an annual basis, and climbed 21.3% over five years, attaining a new high.

Audience members were exposed to 44 ads a day between January and September, compared with 43 from the parallel timeframe in 2009.

Media monitoring firm Nielsen reported TV adspend leapt 19.2% during the first nine months of this year to £2.8bn ($4.4bn; €3.3bn), excluding sponsorship, advertiser-funded programming, online TV or interactive services.

"It is increasingly obvious that viewers want to watch TV live and as it happens; they turn to on-demand services primarily to catch-up with something they've missed," said Tess Alps, Thinkbox's chief executive.

"These new figures reiterate the enormous appeal of linear TV in the UK as new ways to watch TV grow. This enduring popularity stems from a basic human desire to share experiences and it shows no sign of diminishing."

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff