Portables account for 1.5% of TV viewing

watch-tablet-ipadAnalysis of UK TV viewing figures for the first half of 2013 shows how people’s TV diet is developing as on-demand TV viewing becomes a more established part of people’s lives.

According to Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, total average daily TV viewing in the UK during January-June 2013 was 4 hours, 1 minute a day per person.

This comprised:

  • 3 hours, 58 minutes a day of linear TV on a TV set. This is 3 minutes a day less than the same period last year (source: Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board [BARB]). One reason for the slight drop is the improving economy.
  • 3 minutes, 30 seconds a day via devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops (or just over 3 half-hour TV shows a month). This is mostly on-demand but some live streams (source: figures supplied by UK broadcasters to Thinkbox).

In total, viewing on non-TV set devices via established services such as ITV Player, Sky Go, 4OD and BBC iPlayer, and new services such as Dave On-demand, accounted for 1.5 per cent of overall TV viewing during the first half of 2013. This is a slight increase on the full year figure for 2012, when it accounted for 1.2 per cent.

However, balancing this growth is the increasing availability of on-demand services to TV sets, which could eventually limit viewing on other devices.

In terms of linear TV viewing:

  • The average viewer watched 3 hours, 58 minutes a day of linear TV on a TV set during January-June, compared to 4 hours, 1 minute during the same period in 2012, according to BARB.
  • This is 12 minutes more of linear TV a day during the first half of the year than ten years ago.
  • 89 per cent of linear TV was watched live compared to 89.9 per cent in 2012.
  • The average person watched 2 hours, 35 minutes of commercial TV a day, the same as 2012.
  • Commercial TV accounted for 68 per cent of linear viewing, up from 66 per cent in 2012.
  • Commercial TV accounted for 73 per cent of linear viewing among the younger 16-34 audience.
  • In the last ten years, commercial TV viewing has increased by 15 per cent.

As for ‘time-shifted’ TV viewing, BARB’s measurement system captures the amount of linear TV that is recorded on digital TV recorders (DTRs) – such as Sky+, Freeview+ and Virgin Media’s TiVo – and watched within seven days of the original broadcast. It also captures any on-demand TV watched on a TV set in this period, although this is still a very small figure and BARB does not currently publish it separately.

  • In the estimated 58 per cent of households that own DTRs, 83.8 per cent of linear TV was watched live compared to 84.4 per cent in Jan-Jun 2012.
  • 81 per cent of all timeshifted viewing is watched within two days of recording
  • 47 per cent of timeshifted viewing is seen within 24 hours of it being recorded

BARB’s figures suggest that the growth in the amount of TV that is recorded and played back is slowing down. Ofcom also stated this in its recent Communications Market Report 2013.

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 per cent of total linear viewing, as it has in those households that do currently own DTRs. However on-demand TV will increase as a proportion of the time-shifted total.

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

With the spread of Internet-connected TV sets, Thinkbox expects that 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.

Commercial impacts (the number of TV ads watched at normal speed) during Jan-Jun 2013 were up 0.9 per cent on the same period in 2012, and have grown by 12.3 per cent over the last five years.

The average viewer watched 48 ads a day – this is five ads more a day than five years ago. Collectively the UK watched an average of 2.8 billion ads a day in the first half of the year.

“We know that people watch live TV and on demand TV for different reasons,” noted Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox’s Managing Director. They “co-exist and together are helping TV to grow as a medium. People’s ongoing enthusiasm for TV, and their growing enthusiasm for embracing new ways to watch it, is great news for advertisers, who don’t always get the recognition they deserve for contributing to TV’s health and expansion.”

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