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[February 16, 2014]
TV viewing figures show Brits prefer traditional sets over smartphones
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) It appears it will be some time before the explosion in smartphones and tablet computers revolutionises TV viewing, with the average Briton watching little more than three minutes a day on mobile devices last year, according to industry figures.
The average UK viewer watched a total of three hours and 55 minutes of TV a day last year.
This was a nine minute year-on-year drop, due in part to a comparison with the hugely popular London 2012 Olympics the previous year.
The figures show that predictions of the death of the living room TV continue to be well wide of the mark with 98.5% of average daily viewing – three hours and 52 minutes of the total – done via the traditional set.
Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops accounted for an average of just three minutes 30 seconds a day, 1.5% of the total, which equates to just over three half-hour TV shows a month. This is up 30 seconds a day on average compared with 2012.
The chief executive of TV marketing body Thinkbox, Lindsey Clay, 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." The report said that most of the viewing on mobile devices and laptops was of on-demand and catch-up programming – on services such as the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Sky Go and 4OD – with only some live TV.
Thinkbox believes the rise of internet-connected TV sets could limit growth in viewing on "non-TV set devices" – such as tablets – as more households are able to access on-demand services via their main television set.
"Some on-demand viewing, which currently takes place off the TV set, will move to the TV set, as that is the screen people prefer to watch TV on," said Thinkbox.
The proportion of television watched live at home continued to fall, from 89.9% of all viewing in 2012 to 88.7% last year, reflecting the growth in popularity of digital television recorders such as Sky+, Freeview+ and Tivo on Virgin Media.
In the 59% of UK households that own a digital television recorder, just over 15 million, only 83.6% of TV was watched live. This is down from 84.4% in 2012.
Some 81% of all recorded, or time-shifted, viewing is watched within two days of taping the show. Just under half (47%) is watched with 24 hours of recording.
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.
"Once all households have the ability to digitally record TV programmes, Thinkbox expects the average level of recorded and playback TV viewing to settle at around 15-20% of total linear viewing," said the body. "However, on-demand TV will increase as a proportion of the time-shifted total".
The share of viewing accounted for by commercial broadcasters such as ITV, Sky and Channel 4 – as opposed to the BBC – rose from 66% to 68%.
This meant the number of TV adverts seen by viewers rose 1.6% year on year, an average of 47 a day, with the UK collectively watching 2.8bn adverts a day.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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