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TV remains dominant in the UK

News, 10 March 2016

LONDON: The average TV viewer in the UK watched a total of 3 hours, 51 minutes of TV a day in 2015, or 1% less than in 2014 but 5% more than in 2005, a new industry study has revealed.

According to Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, the new figures represent, for the first time, all TV viewing in the UK on any screen.

Previously, Thinkbox reported only the UK industry standard measurement for TV viewing – viewing on a TV set within seven days of the original broadcast, as measured by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) – together with streaming data from UK broadcasters for TV viewing on other devices.

The updated methodology enabled Thinkbox to calculate that the total figure for TV viewing included 3 hours, 36 minutes according to industry standard viewing; 11 minutes of additional viewing on a TV set (playback or VOD viewing on a TV set eight days or more after broadcast); and four minutes of additional viewing on other devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

Viewers aged 16 to 24 watched more than twice as much TV on other devices as the average viewer in 2015, the report said.

This broke down as 2 hours, 14 minutes a day watching on a TV and 10 minutes on other devices. But the report emphasised that "TV remains by far the most popular form of video for this age group".

And although total video viewing among all viewers increased by 15 minutes a day since 2014, TV accounted for three-quarters (76%) of total video time in 2015.

This share was down from 81% in 2014, but was set against the increase in the overall amount of video being watched. In 2015, the average viewer in the UK watched just three minutes less TV a day than in 2014.

"These new figures show that TV dominates the video world for all age groups. Today's young people watch on-demand forms of video more than the generations before that didn't grow up with them," said Lindsey Clay, CEO of Thinkbox.

"This makes sense as they do not tend to have control of the TV set and so turn to their personal screens to watch what they want. What is remarkable is that in the last decade, when so many new technologies and services have arrived that could have disrupted TV, TV viewing has remained so dominant."

The news follows Thinkbox's revelation that a record £5.27bn was spent on TV advertising in the UK last year, a figure that aligned with Warc's preliminary full-year estimate in the Expenditure Report. This marked 7.4% growth year-on-year, the strongest rate since 2010.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff