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Survey: 33% Brits use streaming to combat loneliness

February 23, 2021

Research by Uswitch, the comparison and switching service, has uncovered that a third (33 per cent) of people said streaming online TV helped them to feel less lonely over the past year, with 43 per cent saying they’ve binged an entire series in a single day.

A quarter (26 per cent) said they now exclusively stream TV online and almost half (49 per cent) say they’re watching more online TV than they did pre-lockdown. More than a third (34 per cent) said they started a new streaming subscription during lockdown.

The survey revealed people love the old favourites, with 54 per cent of respondents saying they’ve rewatched The Simpsons more than once. In close second is 90s sitcom Friends (53 per cent), followed by Gavin and Stacey (45 per cent), The Inbetweeners (44 per cent), and The Big Bang Theory (42 per cent). Some 15 per cent of The Simpsons’ fans said they’ve rewatched the show more than 10 times, followed by 14 per cent of Friends’ fans.

Table: Which TV shows have been rewatched the most



TV Show

% of respondents who have rewatched each show more than once


The Simpsons






Gavin and Stacey



The Inbetweeners



The Big Bang Theory



The Office



South Park



Game of Thrones



Downton Abbey



Friday Night Dinner


Nineteen of the top 20 most rewatched shows are scripted dramas, animations and sitcoms. Keeping Up with the Kardashians is the only reality show in the top 20, with repeated viewings at 26 per cent, the same as US sitcom Modern Family.

People in the UK capitals have slightly different tastes, as London and Belfast’s favourite show is Game of Thrones, while Cardiff prefers The Walking Dead, and Edinburgh Breaking Bad.

With such an enormous library of TV shows to watch across various streaming services, viewers said that deciding what to watch can take just as long as actually watching. More than half (55 per cent) of 16-24-year-olds admitted that they have experienced difficulty choosing what to watch, compared to just 16 per cent of people aged 55+.

There are also those among us who can’t wait to watch the latest episode of a series, to the point where they will watch without their series-watching buddy — a modern relationship problem known as “Netflix cheating”. Four in ten (42 per cent) people aged 16-24 said they had watched an episode behind the back of a partner or friend, compared to just 8 per cent of those aged 55+. Men are more likely to commit this digital-treachery with a quarter (28 per cent) having done so, compared to just a fifth (21 per cent) of women admitting the same. Unsurprisingly, a fifth (21 per cent) said their “Netflix cheating” had caused an argument.

As well as “Netflix cheating”, almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they’ve streamed online TV when they were supposed to be working. A third (33 per cent) said they’ve lost sleep due to getting hooked while watching a streaming service.

More than half (52 per cent) of people believe streaming services are good value for money, with more than 44 per cent subscribing to more than one streaming service.

Commenting on the research, Nick Baker, broadband expert, at Uswitch, said: “Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the latest box set to binge-watch. This means the third of us who rely on streaming TV to combat loneliness have a vast library at our fingertips. With so many people spending more time searching for something to watch than actually watching, users should try to take advantage of watch lists. There are also functions such as Netflix’s randomiser which may uncover some hidden gems we might not ordinarily choose.  However, even though popular new shows are released almost weekly, it’s comforting to know that your all-time favourites will be there at the touch of a button.”

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Research, VOD

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