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Brits prefer traditional TV to smartphones and tablets

Brits prefer traditional TV to smartphones and tablets
Tuesday February 9 2016

The average viewer in the UK watched three hours and 55 minutes of TV a day in 2013, but only three minutes on mobile devices, according to new research.

The study, from Thinkbox and BARB, indicates that TV accounted for 98.5% of total viewing in 2013, with the average person watching almost four hours of programming a day.

The official UK TV viewing figures for 2013 reveal that the average person spent 3 hours 52 minutes a day watching linear TV on a TV set, while 3 minutes 30 seconds was spent watching programming on devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.

BARB's figures do not yet include TV viewed on devices other than TV sets, however figures supplied by the UK TV broadcasters show that this viewing accounted for an average of 3 minutes 30 seconds of viewing a day per viewer.

If video on-demand services are included, the total average viewing time of linear TV per day rises to 3 hours 57 minutes.

Although the average viewer watched slightly less linear TV in 2013 than in 2012 - and approximately 1% less live programming - the figure is eight minutes more than it was ten years ago, according to BARB.

BARB's measurement system also captured the amount of linear TV that was recorded on digital TV recorders, such as Sky+, Freeview+ and TiVo, and then watched within seven days of the original broadcast.

In the estimated 59% of UK households that own DTRs, 81% of all timeshifted viewing is watched within two days of broadcast, while 47% is seen within 24 hours, suggesting that the growth in the amount of TV that is recorded and played back is slowing down.

With the spread of internet-connected TVs, Thinkbox expects that some on-demand viewing, which currently takes place on tablets and other devices, will move back to the television. Thinkbox suggests this is because the larger screen is simply more enjoyable to watch.

Thinkbox further predicts that the growth in viewing on non-TV set devices could be limited by the increasing availability of on-demand services to televisions.

In terms of advertising, the research reveals that the average viewer watched 47 ads a day in 2013 - four more than they did five years ago - while commercial impacts during the year were up 1.6% on 2012.

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

"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."

Overall, there 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 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.