BRUSSELS: European children are watching slightly more TV than five years ago but they are being exposed to far less food advertising according to two new reports.

The Kids TV Report, from Eurodata TV Worldwide, said that average daily viewing times for children in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK stood at 2 hours and 11 minutes a day during 2013, a rise of two minutes over the past five years.

This growth, said the report, had been driven by a wider offer of channels thanks to the digital switchover, as well as the measurement of time shifted viewing in all these countries except Spain.

Young Italians were the biggest fans, spending 2 hours 44 minutes a day in front of the television in 2013, a year-on-year rise of two minutes, but most countries had seen a dip in viewing times from 2012.

The report said this loss had been partly balanced by the use of other screens (computers, smartphones and tablets) to watch TV content as well as on-demand viewing.

Children everywhere preferred local channels and local content, although international formats, especially cartoons, remained popular.

A separate report from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) found that European children were now exposed to considerably less food advertising on TV compared to the situation in 2005.

Under the EU pledge, launched in 2007, 20 companies representing over 80% of food adspend in the EU, including the Mondelez, McDonald's and Nestlé, committed to change the products they advertise to children under the age of twelve.

Independent data from Accenture Media Management showed that children were now exposed to 31% fewer ads for EU pledge products on TV across all programming. In addition, they saw 47% fewer ads for products that do not meet the nutrition criteria and 82% fewer for products not meeting the criteria in and around children's programmes.

"This is important given children still spend far more time in front of TV than any other media," said Stephan Loerke, WFA managing director.

"Going forward, we are delighted to be implementing even stricter common criteria while ensuring our commitments apply equally across other media channels, including digital," he added.

Data sourced from Mediametrie, WFA; additional content by Warc staff