Advanced Television

UK choosing TV over streaming for Xmas entertainment

November 14, 2018

Over 70 per cent of people expect to be watching over three hours of TV on Christmas Day according to independent research released by consumer intelligence platform, Attest. Findings show that broadcast TV remains so popular, that two thirds of people continue to buy a physical TV guide to ensure they keep up with Christmas scheduling.

There has been a distinct shift towards streaming services in recent years, with more than half of adults saying they now watch online content. Yet according to Attest, seasonal specials such as Coronation Street, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who have become an integral part of the viewing public’s Christmas Day routine and continue to be watched live amidst festive dinners and present unwrapping.

Despite streaming services debuting Christmas specials last year – such as Netflix’s A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance – the nostalgia of the season sees many people returning to ‘old faithfuls’, with Home Alone (17 per cent) and Elf (10 per cent) voted the favourite Christmas films.

While the Queen’s Speech topped the ratings in 2017, Attest’s research also suggests that this year more people intend to watch the Eastenders Christmas special (34 per cent) than they do Her Majesty (32 per cent). The last time Eastenders topped the ratings was in 2012 and with research showing that Coronation Street (27 per cent), Doctor Who (27 per cent) and Strictly (22 per cent) are all also popular viewing choices, it could be a close fight for the highest figures come December 25th.

Audiences don’t just look forward to festive programming; over half (57 per cent) have recommended a seasonal advert to a friend, while 48 per cent want Christmas ads to start brightening up their commercial breaks as early as November. Watching soldiers play football or old men sat on the moon can make it easy to forget that these ads are designed to shift products, but Attest’s data demonstrates they serve their purpose with half of consumers turning to adverts for gift inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the various John Lewis adverts are the most recalled, with 53 per cent citing them as their most well-remembered ad.

Away from television, traditional broadcasting tops the tree in the radio stakes. The study found that almost half of consumers will turn to radio to hear their favourite Christmas songs, with Spotify taking a back seat, representing just 26 per cent of the listening public’s preferred Christmas audio destination. The Pogues (10 per cent), Mariah Carey (8 per cent) and Wham (8 per cent) remain the most popular holiday hits with audiences who love to belt out festive ballads.

Jeremy King, CEO of Attest, said “With consumers set to return to traditional media, broadcasters have a clear opportunity to showcase both their holiday programming and their 2019 productions to sustain longer-term viewer numbers and maximise growth on their own streaming platforms. For advertisers, understanding where consumers are most likely to congregate is vital to maximise brand and product exposure – whether it’s lining up their ads alongside the public’s favourite Christmas hits, or their most loved festive films.”


Attest’s research also demonstrates the extent to which social media has become a part of the festive routine, with just one in ten intending on staying away from a social platform on Christmas day. Findings show that women favour social media over men, with 76 per cent of women planning on using Facebook to stay connected on Christmas day, compared with 58 per cent of men, while 40 per cent of Facebook users look for gift inspiration as they scroll down their feeds.


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