TV viewing time reaches record high

22 March 2010

PARIS: The amount of time consumers spent watching television reached a record high last year, according to a new global report produced by Médiamétrie.

The Eurodata TV Worldwide study covered 89 countries, 2,000 channels and a potential audience of 3 billion people around the world.

It revealed that the typical person viewed 3 hours and 12 minutes worth of broadcast content a day in 2009, up by three minutes when compared with 2008, and of nine minutes when measured against 2004.

Totals peaked in North America, on 4 hours 40 minutes, with the Middle East on 4 hours 34 minutes, while Europe was some way further back, on 3 hours 42 minutes.

In this latter region, Germany posted an average consumption time of 3 hours 32 minutes, an improvement of five minutes year-on-year, with France on 3 hours 25 minutes.

Latin America delivered a score of 3 hours 30 minutes, with Asia-Pacific on 2 hours 41 minutes, including an uptick of five minutes in China, to 2 hours 38 minutes.

Africa was the only region not to register an increase on an annual basis, but still generated a comparatively high figure of 3 hours 52 minutes.

The economic crisis was one factor that contributed to the positive global trend, having encouraged consumers to stay at home in a bid to save money.

More broadly, media convergence and the rising penetration of new technology like HDTV, digital terrestrial television and digital video recorders mean the number of options available have grown.

Indeed, the uptake of DVRs has exerted a major impact in the countries where these devices have been incorporated into the overall statistics.

Norway, for example, added DVR playback to its measurement methodology in 2008, and saw growth of 24 minutes last year, to 2 hours 54 minutes.

Denmark also experienced a leap of 23 minutes, to 3 hours nine minutes, having adapted its data-gathering process in light of changing behaviour.

By programme type, drama series recorded the highest viewing levels in 2009, on 42%, with reality shows on 38%, according to Médiamétrie.

High-profile events such as the World Cup in South Africa mean that 2010 is likely to yield further growth in viewing times, Jacques Braun, vice president of Eurodata TV Worldwide, predicted.

Data sourced from Médiamétrie/Les Échos/AFP; additional content by Warc staff