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[February 19, 2013]
On-the-move TV viewing figures remain low
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The future of media may be mobile but on-the-move television is still in its infancy accounting for three minutes of viewing a day, according to industry figures.
The average UK viewer watched four hours and four minutes of TV a day in 2012, the third consecutive year it topped the four-hour mark.
The proportion of television watched live continues to fall, reflecting the growth in popularity of digital television recorders such as Sky+, Freeview+ and Tivo on Virgin Media.
Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops accounted for three minutes of TV a day – 1.2% of the total – equating to about 90 minutes a month, according to the figures collated by industry marketing body, Thinkbox.
The Thinkbox managing director, Lindsey Clay, said viewing via personal devices was "in comparison relatively small but it is growing rapidly and helping TV as a whole to expand".
However, with on-demand TV services such as the BBC's iPlayer, the ITV Player and Channel 4's 4OD increasingly available on digital TVs, she said further growth in on-demand viewing was likely to boost audience numbers in the home.
"What we have found is with on-demand viewing people gravitate to the best screen available," she said.
"The more on-demand services become available on the TV set, the more it will be watched there. Why wouldn't you want to watch it at home on the biggest screen with the best sound " Mobile viewing will also increase, said Clay, with the ability offered by devices such as the iPlayer to download shows at home and watch them on the move.
The figures are the first to estimate viewing on personal devices, using data provided to Thinkbox – the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, whose shareholders include ITV, Channel 4 and Sky – provided by the broadcasters.
The 90 minutes of mobile viewing a month, in the year when digital TV switchover was completed in the UK, was mostly on-demand but included some live streaming.
Total TV viewing in the home, of four hours and one minute, was one minute down on the record high of 2011 but 27 minutes up on a decade ago.
Of home viewing, 89.9% was watched live as it was broadcast, down from 90.3% in 2011. The figure was lower in the 51% of UK homes with a digital television recorder, where only 84.4% of TV was watched live.
Some 81% of all timeshifted viewing is watched within seven days of recording, and 47% within 24 hours.
Thinkbox said the viewing figures from industry body Barb suggested the growth in the amount of TV that is recorded and watched later is slowing.
It expects the average level of recorded TV viewing to settle down around the 15% mark. But it said on-demand TV would grow as a proportion of the timeshifted total.
Thinkbox said the Barb figures did not suggest that the BBC's coverage of the London 2012 Olympics adversely affected commercial TV viewing, with the average person watching two hours and 35 minutes of commercial TV a day in 2012, a minute less than in 2011.
The average TV viewer watched 47 adverts a day in 2012, eyeballing a collective 2.7bn ads a day.
Thinkbox's full figures on TV viewing will be published in its annual report at the beginning of March.
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