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Research: Lockdown sees UK PSB viewing boost

May 27, 2020

UK comms regulator Ofcom has published its regular research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week eight of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed from previous weeks.

In week eight:

  • more than nine in ten respondents (92 per cent) are still accessing news about Covid-19 at least once a day;
  • the frequency with which people access news continues to decline. Fewer than one in ten respondents (8 per cent) currently access news about the pandemic at least twenty times a day, compared with almost a quarter (24 per cent) in week one;
  • a third of respondents (33 per cent) say they are trying to avoid news about coronavirus. Those aged 25-34 remain most likely to say they are avoiding news on Covid-19 (43 per cent); and
  • 43 per cent of people say they have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19, down slightly from week one. False claims linking 5G to the virus remain the most commonly seen pieces of misinformation (35 per cent), in-line with recent weeks but down from 50 per cent in week three.

Alongside this report, Ofcom has published new data from BARB on people’s television viewing habits during lockdown.

The data reveals that:

  • March saw the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV and STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C – achieve their highest share of TV viewing so far this year (58.8 per cent);
  • the average number of minutes that people spent watching TV in May is higher than in the previous four years; and
  • the weekly reach of broadcast TV news is gradually declining since peaking in the first week of ‘lockdown’, but it still remains far higher than previous years.

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