Attentional's latest forecasts suggest that a number of factors will combine to offer a brighter future for UK television over the next five years than previously anticipated.
One factor behind this trend is the rapid conversion of older viewers to digital platforms, where the availability of extra channels means they tend to watch more television. The digital conversion of younger viewers who have so far resisted taking up multichannel technologies is also playing a significant role. The imminent prospect of analogue switch-off, combined with falling multichannel technology prices, means these trends are likely to continue.
The forecast finds growing evidence that the downward trend in average daily viewing time among young adults (16-34) has now levelled out. Broadcasters are working very hard to attract and retain younger viewers, with strong brand promotions through the Internet, coupled with on-demand catch-up viewing, all helping to draw younger viewers to programmes they may otherwise have missed.
Overall, the forecasts suggest that the average daily viewing time of young adults will fall by 1 per cent. But due to rising levels of immigration into the UK, the officially projected 5.5 per cent increase in the number of adults aged 16-34 in the UK population results in a predicted 4.6 per cent rise in total television viewing for this group by 2012. The only demographic group for which a significant fall in total television viewing has been forecast is Children (4-15), where a continued (albeit slowing) fall in average daily viewing time, coupled with a declining population, is likely to result in a 4 per cent decrease in total television viewing over the next five years.