Advanced Television

Survey: Brits spend 182hrs per year searching for content

April 10, 2024

Using multiple streaming services and debating what to watch can be time-consuming. A study by Currys uncovered how much time people spend choosing a programme or movie to watch and asked 2,018 Brits to understand their challenges and difficulties in selecting content. Out of those asked, 10 per cent admitted they spend up to 2 hours trying to find something to watch, with the average time spent, across all respondents, on this decision dilemma being 30 minutes a day.  

For those who find themselves watching TV daily, this 30 minutes per day translates to 182.5 hours per year dedicated to the task of deciding what to watch – equivalent to just over 7 days annually lost to choice paralysis. 

The survey also revealed that nearly 60 per cent admit that after endless scrolling, they give up on finding something to watch altogether  

Endless scrolling for the perfect show can lead to overwhelming anxiety, making the search for something enjoyable more stressful than fun. 

Dr. George Fieldman, a Consultant Psychologist, offers insights into the reasons behind people’s anxiety when it comes to deciding what to watch on TV, he said: “Fear and danger are poorly correlated which means that people fear making the wrong choice. Even when it comes to picking something to watch on TV still comes with a fair amount of factors to consider which can lead you to spiral into anxiety. What you watch is a significant investment of time and people don’t want to make the wrong choice. It has to be worthwhile to justify spending that time which could be spent elsewhere. Those that suffer from anxiety are more likely to experience choice paralysis. This usually happens because making the right choice is important for them and they overestimate the impact of making the wrong decision.” 

Brits only give shows 34 minutes to impress them 

The study also revealed that UK viewers take a surprisingly short time to figure out if they want to continue watching a show or not, with the average decision time being 34 minutes to assess whether the unfolding plot or character dynamics align with expectations and preferences. 

When it comes to movies, Brits take even less time to decide as the average time is just 30 minutes before turning it off. 

The storyline was found to be the most important factor for 47 per cent of Brits when choosing a TV programme. Delving deeper into their considerations, the cast and actors follow closely at 41 per cent and genre at 40 per cent (with drama voted as the UK’s go-to genre). Combining this with the influence of reviews standing at 31 per cent, it highlights a varied approach to viewers’ decision-making process.  

Top pet peeves for Brits when trying to watch something 

Considering the hassle of trying to decide what to watch, the last thing Brits want is to be disturbed while viewing. The survey found that the top bug bear of Brits while watching a film or TV is someone talking, this being a top annoying habit for 45 per cent of respondents. 

Next is spoiling key moments for 32 per cent, in joint third, people checking their phones (30 per cent) and constantly asking about the plot (30 per cent) and lastly falling asleep during the show or movie, which is a pet peeve for 27 per cent. 


Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research, Search/Recommendation, VOD

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