Study: Brits Watch Nearly 10 Years Of TV In Their Lifetime, Younger Viewers Prefer On-Demand

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UKTV Play (FT)

The average British person spends more than nine and a half years watching television over their adult lifetime, amounting to seven weeks of TV viewing a year and 24 hours of TV viewing a week, according to a new study.

Breaking down the numbers further, while the average person will watch 24 hours of TV a week, 40% of Brits watch at least 26 hours of TV a week and some 7% watch up to 40 hours of TV a week. There was no major divergence across gender lines, but geography was found to be a key factor. 52% of respondents from the North East admitted that they regularly watch over 26 hours a week and those based in the East Midlands spend the least time glued to the box, only averaging 21 hours per week.

The new nationwide study of 2000 people, commissioned by UKTV’s on-demand service UKTV Play, also revealed that 15% of people claim to watch the vast majority of their TV consumption via on-demand, rather than live. That percentage jumps significantly for 18-24s, 33% of whom prefer on-demand viewing. Additional, 37% of that demographic also prefer to use tablets, mobiles or laptops instead of a television set.

More good news for on-demand platforms: UKTV’s study also firmly established that binge viewing is here to stay. Younger viewers (18-24) are most likely to prefer to binge watch a show, spending an average of five hours in front of their favourite show, while those aged 55 and over tend to switch off after just three hours. The study also found that 38% of respondents said that “collections” were the most important feature for an on-demand/catch up service.

“It’s amazing how many hours of small screen time we rack up in a lifetime – which is testament to the great programmes available to enjoy”, said Emma Tennant, Controller of UKTV. “It seems we are also increasingly taking TV out of our living rooms to watch on the go and create our own TV schedules by watching even more shows on catch up services like”

As part of the study, UKTV also polled the 2000 respondents on TV behaviour and etiquette, such as if people watch TV at work (19% do) and if it is acceptable to eat in front of the TV (39% said yes). But perhaps the most significant revelation for the industry here was that a quarter of respondents said that adverts must be as entertaining as the show. That last point could be viewed as a tacit endorsement of AFP, which UKTV has been pushing into of late with shows like John Torode’s Malaysian Adventure, The Unbreakables and the third season of Crackanory.