Digital technology increases UK TV viewing

Television technology, including digital and HD formats, time-shifted and catch-up viewing, has helped drive a global increase in television viewing, a new report has revealed.

The report – Television – International Key Facts 2011 – published by IP Network, the wholly owned international advertising subsidiary of RTL Group, analyses audiences, programmes and leading trends in television in 37 countries, covering more than 900 European, American and Japanese television channels.

The study reveals European viewers are watching on average six more minutes of television per year, with the UK increasing the most by a remarkable 17 minutes a following Bulgaria (+20 minutes) and Hungary (+19 minutes). With a 7.6 per cent increase in advertising spend in 2010 in Western Europe, television has become the principal medium for viewers and advertisers as it moves into the 100 per cent digital era.

Mark Pimbley, UK Director, IP Network said the report illustrated that the global television market was growing and technological innovation, healthy audience levels and programming would continue to drive this expansion in 2011.

According to IP Network, audience growth has been driven by the shift to digital as well as three core areas of content – scripted dramas, global entertainment formats and sports.

The transition to the digital era has reached its final stage, with 72 per cent of EU households and 55 per cent of Europeans watching digital television. This is accompanied by the progress in TV technology, with nearly 33 per cent of European homes watching in HD – 69 per cent in the UK. Ratings companies are increasingly able to measure these new modes of television consumption. Initial analyses of time-shifted viewing show that recorded programmes – including advertising – are still consumed within 24 hours after broadcast; with fiction and sitcoms the most consumed programmes. Catch-up viewing is also popular, with 55 per cent of Internet users watching TV on catch-up services, with 81 per cent of catch up users stating that they are watching as much TV as previously.

In terms of entertainment formats, IP Network notes that talent shows, where local adaptations and Internet interactivity increases viewers, have proved the most successful entertainment format.

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