LONDON: Almost half of consumers in the UK have been "inspired" to change their behaviour in favourable ways by TV ads and programmes, according to a report.

Thinkbox, the TV industry body, and Ipsos MORI, the survey firm, polled 2,013 people, some 40% of whom agreed shows and ads they have watched via this medium "inspired them to act more positively".

Among this group, the new activities undertaken included eating more healthily, mentioned by 49%, ahead of recycling on 42%, conserving energy on 38%, exercising on 36% and voting on 20%.

"People watch TV primarily to relax and be entertained, which is a good in itself. But they also watch it to stay informed and be inspired," said Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox's managing director.

"It is high time to put the case forward for how TV benefits society generally beyond its pure entertainment value."

Elsewhere, just 16% of interviewees thought that material they had been exposed to online exerted similarly favourable effects, a total that reached 16% for newspapers and 14% for radio.

Magazines secured 14% on this metric, while 9% of the panel took the same view when discussing messages seen on the high street, as did 6% for direct mail.

Overall, TV spots were perceived as matching the impact of programmes. As an example, 43% of the contributors who were inspired to donate to charity due to broadcast content credited this to commercials, compared with 33% for shows.

A further 26% of people who had adopted positive behaviours under the influence of television revealed that ads had encouraged them to drive more carefully, falling to 22% for programmes.

A 55% majority of respondents also agreed that TV raised their awareness of issues and causes, and 47% stated it made an emotional connection or heightened their sympathy levels regarding these matters.

Some 23% of individuals who gave money to charity because of television set up a standing order providing regular donations to the not-for-profit organisation concerned, the analysis added.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff