LONDON: The vast majority (98.5%) of British TV viewers continue to prefer watching programmes via a TV set even though the proportion using non-TV set devices increased slightly in 2013, the latest official UK viewing figures have shown.

According to data compiled by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) and released by Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, non-TV set screens, such as smartphones and tablets, accounted for just 1.5% of TV viewing last year.

Although this was a slight increase from the 1.2% recorded in 2012, it represented an average of just 3 minutes and 30 seconds a day compared to the 3 hours and 52 minutes a day of linear TV viewing on a TV set.

While the average amount of linear, or scheduled, viewing was itself slightly down from the 4 hours and 1 minute recorded in 2012, it still accounted for 8 minutes more linear TV a day than ten years ago.

Of particular note for advertisers, commercial TV accounted for 76% of linear viewing on a TV set, up from 66% in 2012, and rising to 76% of viewers aged 16 to 34.

Commercial TV impacts – the number of TV ads watched at normal speed – increased 1.6% in 2013, a growth rate of 10.4% over the last five years, and the average viewer watched 47 TV ads a day in 2013, or an increase of four more ads a day since 2008.

Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, said: "New screens are making TV even more convenient for viewers and creating new opportunities for advertisers.

"But, the more we learn, the clearer it becomes that the TV set will remain our favourite way to watch TV – especially as on-demand services become more available on the best screen."

Noting the increasing availability of on-demand services, Thinkbox expected more on-demand viewing to switch to the TV set from non-TV set devices because it is the screen viewers prefer to watch TV on.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff