Advanced Television

UK viewers experience TV elation

March 18, 2013

By Colin Mann

A study of the UK’s changing viewing habits from TV licence information and management body TV Licensing reveals annual viewing trends and the nation’s TeleHappiness Index.

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover,” so said one of TV’s greatest fans, and creations, Homer Simpson. However, the report suggests the kind of TV which makes us happiest may not depend on the amount of TV we watch, rather on your age, gender and where in the UK you live.

The national interactive TeleHappiness Index, part of TV Licensing’s TeleScope 2013, suggests comedy is the genre which brings most happiness to our lives, with 95 per cent of us putting it at the top our TeleHappiness Index. According to the report, we are obviously very discerning about our comedy because, despite the high TeleHappiness rating, we watch relatively little of it, fewer than four hours a week, compared to an average of 4.7 hours a week of news.

Adults in Scotland, the North West, London, the South East and Northern Ireland watch more children’s programmes in a week than their grown-up counterparts in the rest of the UK. But it’s older people, including grandparents, who find the most enjoyment in children’s television, with 80 per cent of respondents aged 65+ agreeing children’s shows make them happy. The Welsh derive more happiness from watching sport (82 per cent) than any other nation or region whilst viewers in the East of England are happier watching drama and soaps (78 per cent) than the rest of us.

In order to watch TV, viewers are continuing to embrace new technology, yet refuse to give up older devices in the living room. While 47 per cent of UK households have a PVR, nearly a third (29 per cent) of us still have a VCR as part of their home entertainment set-up.

The UK’s love of TV and the desire to never miss the programmes which make us happiest is reflected in the amount saved and ready to watch at a moment’s notice on the nation’s PVRs (Personal Video Recorders) – an estimated 455 million hours, or the equivalent of almost 52,000 years of TV.

TeleScope is an annual TV industry report produced by TV Licensing. It looks at the UK’s television viewing habits – identifying how we’re responding to new technologies and how our habits are changing. Insights from the past 12 months include:

  • We have fewer TVs: The average household now has 1.83 TV sets, down from an average of 2.3 sets in 2003. But we’re watching more television on more devices: We watch an average of 4 hours 2 minutes of TV a day, up from an average of 3 hours 36 minutes a day in 2006. A TV Licence covers viewing on any TV, mobile device or tablet in the home or on the move. In 2012, fewer than one per cent of us watch only time-shifted TV.
  • Premium TV features are on the rise: More than a third of the TV market value in 2012 was from sales of 3D TVs, and sales of jumbo screens (43 inch or more) increased 10 per cent in the past 12 months.
  • Social networks allow us to engage with each other in real-time like never before: 40 per cent of all tweets are about television shows between 6.30pm and 10pm.

Pipa Doubtfire, Head of Revenue Management, BBC TV Licensing, said: “TeleScope 2013 looks at our emotional connections to the programmes we love, how our favourite TV programmes make us happy and our love for TV. In the three years we’ve been producing the TeleScope report, we’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the way viewers consume their favourite TV programmes. This year, we launched the nation’s TeleHappiness Index to capture the nation’s emotional responses and our evolving relationship with TV.”

According to Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, the movement for positive social change, we all want to feel good and live a happy life. “Research is showing that happier people are typically healthier, more productive, have stronger relationships, do more to help others and even live longer. But what impact does television have on the nation’s happiness? Certain programming, notably comedy and entertainment, can significantly boost our mood. But television also brings challenges for our wellbeing, particularly for those who spend an above average number of hours watching. We could all benefit from more programmes that not only boost our own TeleHappiness, but also help us to see the good in the world and inspire us to contribute to it.”

Key findings from TeleScope 2013 cover:

  • The Tipping Point: Increased choice and product development means we’re now offered a huge range of options to supplement – rather than supersede – our TV viewing.
  • The TV Economy: The latest facts and figures behind technology investments and upgrades.
  • The Power of Live TV: Live TV moments and the latest ways of engaging with TV on social media.
  • Curating Our Own Schedule: Today’s viewing experience is a mix of live, recorded and catch up viewing.
  • The TeleHappiness Index: National and regional results from the first TeleHappiness Index highlight the TV that makes us truly happy by comparing the hours and TV genres we watch against our emotional responses.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research