Advanced Television

Research reveals TV’s power to educate Brits

April 19, 2022

Ahead of voting closing for Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment at the 2022 British Academy Television Awards on May 8th, a study from multiplay telco Virgin Media O2 looking at the nation’s TV viewing habits reveals the power of TV in educating Brits on important causes. The research reveals more than half (51 per cent) admit watching TV has educated them more than any other platform in recent years.

The survey of 2,000 adults found 45 per cent felt educated on causes such as Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement by watching TV – as it was served to them rather than having to seek further insight through online searches. The climate emergency, refugee crises and the pandemic were other major topics the medium has served to educate on in recent years.

It also emerged over a quarter (26 per cent) rely more now on television than ever before to find out about social issues and important world developments.

Interestingly, over seven in 10 (71 per cent) believe they’ve learnt more about international cultures than they would have elsewhere. In recent years respondents also found watching TV has helped educate them on topics including disability (23 per cent), disease (28 per cent), the education system (17 per cent) and gender identity (13 per cent), all topics which are showcased in this year’s Virgin Media Must-See Moment nominations. The nominations include An Audience with Adele, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, It’s A Sin, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Squid Game and Strictly Come Dancing.

More than two thirds of Brits (67 per cent) like that TV keeps them informed without having to find further additional information themselves. And 59 per cent like the fact their favourite shows weave in important issues so they consume them without too much effort.

Four in 10 (43 per cent) are more likely to watch drama and comedy shows on a regular basis over the news and documentaries (37 per cent), showing the power of TV as an educator across a range of shows and formats. The study also found 68 per cent have let someone else know something important they’ve learned from watching the box.

Nearly two thirds (62 per cent) think watching TV is a good way to spend quality time with their family or loved ones. It also sparks important conversations around societal issues according to 57 per cent.

On average, four hours of TV is consumed each day, with Saturdays the most likely day to watch the most. A range of feelings were also experienced by respondents when watching TV, from amusement, nostalgia and satisfaction to sadness, frustration and anger.

While its main plus points were seen as being convenient and accessible, reaching people of all ages and being the quickest way to deliver important news.

“Television is the most powerful way to inform and educate us on what’s really important – that is at the heart of Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment,” noted David Bouchier, Chief TV and Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media O2. “The research has really backed up the benefits that we so often take for granted. Whilst TV is all about relaxing and being captivated, there’s also time to learn more about everything from key societal issues to the health of our planet.”

“Whether watching TV to keep informed or entertained, the Virgin Media Must-See Moment nominees represent some of the biggest conversations of 2021 from heart-warming moments to raising awareness of hugely important issues, celebrating the diversity of TV. As the only award at the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards, which is voted for by the public, we can’t wait to see who will be crowned the winner,” he said.


  • The global pandemic
  • Climate crisis
  • The UK and US elections
  • Refugee crisis
  • Ocean conservation
  • Cultures outside of the UK
  • Species endangerment
  • Disease
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Disability

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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