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TV viewing hits a new high, reports Thinkbox

Samsung TV

TV viewing in the UK hit a new high in the first half of 2011, with viewers notching up an average of just over four hours a day.

Research by TV marketing organisation Thinkbox shows that in the six months to end of June, UK viewers racked up four hours and three minutes a day of TV watching – an increase of 51 seconds a day over 2010.

People are watching more live TV to avoid seeing spoilers on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, says Thinkbox, and the popularity of personal video recorders (PVRs) such as Sky+ and Freeview+ has also fuelled growth in 'time-shifted' viewing.

Thinkbox, which uses figures from TV audience measurement organisation Barb, says non-live 'time-shifted' viewing accounted for 9% of the UK's total TV viewing in the same period.

But it believes that live TV viewing may now have peaked at around four hours a day.

"We've been saying for a while that linear TV viewing couldn't keep breaking records forever and that it had to stabilise at some point," says Lindsey Clay, managing director of Thinkbox.

"It appears that this is now happening. On-demand TV is expanding total TV by adding to this stable linear base."

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.