Report: 98.5% of TV was watched on a TV set in 2013

Full year TV viewing figures for 2013 show that the TV set remains the centre of people’s TV viewing, accounting for 98.5% of total viewing, research by Thinkbox has revealed. Non-TV set screens such as tablets and laptops accounted for the remaining 1.5%, up from 1.2% of total viewing in 2012.

Total average daily TV viewing in the UK during 2013 was 3 hours, 55 minutes, 30 seconds a day per person.

Since July 2013, BARB has been measuring TV viewing on a TV set that takes place between 8-28 days after broadcast. If this viewing is included in the total it adds an extra 2 minutes per person per day, taking total daily viewing to 3 hours, 57 minutes.

In total, viewing on non-TV set devices via Broadcaster VOD services – such as ITV Player, Sky Go, 4OD and BBC iPlayer, and DaveOD – accounted for 1.5% of overall TV viewing during 2013, the research showed. This is a slight increase on the full year figure for 2012, when it accounted for 1.2%.

Other findings showed that:

  • the average viewer watched 3 hours, 52 minutes a day of linear TV on a TV set in 2013, compared to 4 hours, 1 minute during 2012, according to BARB.
  • 8 minutes more linear TV a day than ten years ago.
  • 88.7% of linear TV was watched live compared to 89.9% in 2012.
  • commercial TV accounted for 68% of linear viewing, up from 66% in 2012.
  • in the last ten years, commercial TV viewing has increased by 4%.
  • in the estimated 59% of UK households that own DTRs, 83.6 % of linear TV was watched live compared to 84.4% in 2012.
  • 81% of all timeshifted viewing is watched within two days of recording
  • 47% of timeshifted viewing is seen within 24 hours of it being recorded

BARB captures any on-demand TV watched on a TV set in this period, although it currently only publishes the data for Sky households, in which on-demand via the TV set accounts for 1% of total TV set viewing. BARB is due to begin publishing figures for all TV watched in the home later in 2014.

BARB’s figures suggest that the growth in the amount of TV that is recorded and played back is slowing down. Ofcom also stated this in its recent Communications Market Report 2013.

Once all households have the ability to digitally record TV programmes, Thinkbox expects the average level of recorded and playback TV viewing to settle at around 15-20% of total linear viewing, as it has in those households that do currently own DTRs. However on-demand TV will increase as a proportion of the time-shifted total.

BARB’s figures do not yet include TV viewed on devices other than TV sets, however figures supplied by the UK TV broadcaster show that this viewing accounted for an average of 3 minutes, 30 seconds of viewing a day per viewer.

With the spread of internet-connected TV sets, Thinkbox expects that some on-demand viewing, which currently takes place off the TV set, will move to the TV set, as that is the screen people prefer to watch TV on. The growth in viewing on non-TV set devices could be limited by the increasing availability of on-demand services to TV sets.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox’s Chief Executive: “New screens are making TV even more convenient for viewers and creating new opportunities for advertisers. But, the more we learn, the clearer it becomes that the TV set will remain our favourite way to watch TV – especially as on-demand services become more available on the best screen.”

DTG Staff  |  17.02.2014

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