Advanced Television

Brits prefer box sets to books

May 12, 2016

Research commissioned by Sky Box Sets reveals nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of Britons are choosing to settle down to a good box set over a book (rising to 82 per cent of under 24s). The nationwide study reflects the growing popularity of box sets in our everyday lives.

A quarter of respondents (27 per cent) have three or more box sets on the go at any one time and, on average, they recommend their favourite shows to other people as much as three times a week. More than half (52 per cent) now also share their thoughts on what they’ve watched immediately on social media and 20 per cent admit to feeling excluded if they hear others discussing a box set they haven’t yet seen.

To remedy a serious case of box set FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), 1 in 5 stay up all night to make sure they don’t miss out on the conversation. And nearly half admit Game of Thrones tops the ‘left out’ list.

While some forego sleep to catch up on conversational cliff-hangers, 10 per cent say they will lie about watching a box set episode (rising to 1 in 5 (20 per cent) of under 25s) by admitting to looking up episode synopses online in a bid to keep up with discussions. Again, Game of Thrones is the number one show people fib about seeing.

With the nation’s favourite shows such as Game of Thrones, The X-Files and The Walking Dead becoming such social phenomena, 73 per cent of under-24s and 57 per cent of 25 – 34 year olds say they would love join a club and chat about their favourite shows; which is why Sky Box Sets has teamed up with former Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey star Rose Leslie to launch Sky Box Sets Club – helping Brits share their passion for addictively good box sets.

Box sets are such an everyday part of life that for nearly a quarter of the population (22 per cent) they are a regular topic of conversation at work, redefining the traditional ‘water cooler’ moment. A surprising further six per cent of 16 to 34 year olds confess to pulling a sickie from work to catch up on viewing. Even more surprisingly, the research shows that Brits find box sets so addictively good that many would rather watch their favourite show than have sex with a partner (12 per cent).

The research also discovers eight per cent admitting they fell in love with their partner over a shared love of a particular box set. A quarter (24 per cent) of box set lovers say TV is a hot topic on a first date, while over 1 in 5 (21 per cent) 16-24 year olds say they’ve judged wanting to get to know someone better on the basis of their favourite box set.  Conversely, nine per cent admit they’ve tuned out after discovering their date was a fan of a show they didn’t like.

And we’re using tablets and mobiles to watch shows anywhere anytime – on holiday (7 per cent), at work (3 per cent) and even in the bath (5 per cent) or on the loo (3 per cent).

According to behavioural psychologist, Emma Kenny, the research demonstrates the  need for connection and shared experiences. “The most important part of being human is connecting with others, and we should celebrate what helps us do that. Compared to books, box sets are a new phenomenon, but one nonetheless that gets people talking and connecting.”

“With one in five people admitting to cheating, by looking up episodes they have missed online, it demonstrates the importance of feeling part of something. The best part the box set trend is the democracy involved. Box sets transcend social divides cutting across economic status and education and enable us to come together as a whole.”

“With more and more people preferring to relax in front of a good box set rather than pick up a book, we want to help them kick start their conversations through Sky Box Sets Club,” added Luke Bradley-Jones, Director of TV and Content Products Sky. “It is a brilliant new way to catch up with friends, at home or online, over a shared love of addictively good TV shows.”

Sky Box Sets is home to more than 350 shows including Billions, The Affair, Twin Peaks, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones.

Categories: Articles, Companion devices, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Mobile, Portable Media, Research