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TV still holds sway in the UK

News, 18 July 2016

LONDON: Some 87% of all TV viewing in the UK is still live at the point of broadcast, with other uses for the TV screen representing on average only 40 minutes per day, according to research from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB).

Based on interviews BARB conducted with more than 53,000 people for its Establishment Survey, the UK's official audience measurement organisation said that meant streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Video, might be gaining ground but they complement rather than replace traditional TV in the UK.

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive of BARB, delved into the detail of the survey findings in an article entitled, "TV viewing in the internet age", which features in the latest edition of Admap.

He said the BARB data showed that people watched live or catch-up for just under seven out of every eight hours when using their TV sets, representing 86.4% of TV screen time devoted to watching TV programmes within four weeks of their appearance in a broadcast schedule.

That left an average of just over 40 minutes a day when the TV screen was used for other activities, such as games or Bluray/DVD players, which accounted for a combined 42% of this remaining time.

According to Sampson, that further left an average of 23 minutes a day across all age groups that "will attract the most interest from those who believe we're on the verge of a new phase of television".

Within this screen-use time, some watched archived programming from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and other catch-up platforms, while others accessed box-sets and pay-per-view movies provided by the likes of Sky Store or iTunes.

Some also would have used video streaming services, but Sampson downplayed the amount of time they command on viewers' attention.

"We can't yet be precise about the level of viewing to these subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, but given all the other sources of content in here, it's going to be a good deal less than 23 minutes a day," he said.

"The data does not support the commonly expressed view that an entire generation of young people have more or less abandoned traditional television in favour of binge viewing on Netflix or Amazon Video," he added.

Data sourced from Admap