LONDON: The average UK television viewer watched 48 ads a day during the first half of 2013, while the number of ads watched at normal speed was up almost 1% on the same period a year earlier, new data has revealed.

Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV, published figures from BARB, the audience measurement organisation, showing that the UK collectively watched an average of 2.8bn ads a day between January and June 2013.

The total time spent viewing TV was 4 hours, 1 minute a day per person and the great majority of this was done on a television set. Just 1.5% was on other screens such as tablets, smartphones and laptops and this was mostly via on-demand services.

Compared to the first half of 2012, the average viewer watched three minutes less of linear TV daily, at 3 hours, 58 minutes, but, encouragingly for advertisers, the time spent on commercial TV remained the same at 2 hours, 35 minutes.

Consequently, the share of linear viewing taken by commercial TV has crept up from 66% to 68%. And among the 16-34 year old age group, commercial TV accounted for 73% of their linear viewing.

The data also revealed an increase in timeshifted viewing. In the estimated 58% of households that own digital recorders, 83.8% of linear TV was watched live compared to 84.4% in Jan-Jun 2012.

Thinkbox expects the average level of recorded and playback TV viewing to settle at around 15-20% of total linear viewing once all households had the ability to digitally record TV programmes. It also said on-demand TV would increase as a proportion of the time-shifted total.

"We know that people watch live TV and on demand TV for different reasons. They co-exist and together are helping TV to grow as a medium," said Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox's Managing Director.

"People's ongoing enthusiasm for TV, and their growing enthusiasm for embracing new ways to watch it, is great news for advertisers, who don't always get the recognition they deserve for contributing to TV's health and expansion," she added.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff