HDTV, Social Media & On-Demand Services Spur UK TV Viewing Growth

Richard Carlton

Recent figures have suggested that the growth of linear TV viewing in the UK has been driven by HDTV, social media and on-demand catch-up services amongst other factors, with the amount of time British consumers spent watching linear commercial television channels in the United Kingdom rising to a new high between January and June of this year. Total TV viewing time (which includes the figures for non-commercial channels such as BBC1 and BBC2) also reached its highest on record for that period, Thinkbox announced.

According to the London-based television advertising marketing body, the latest figures from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) have shown that in the first six months of 2011 the average Brit watched a weekly total of around 28 hours and 21 minutes of television, equating to just over four hours a day. This figure reflects an increase of six minutes per week compared to the same period last year, and represents a growth of 2 hours and 43 minutes per week over the five-year average.

During the first six months of this year, commercial television channels is said to have made up 64 percent of total TV viewing, which reflected a 2 percent increase compared to last year. Thinkbox has cited a number of factors to explain the increase in linear TV viewing as indicated by BARB’s figures (which did not include viewing on devices other than television sets).

One of the factors that is thought to have boosted TV viewing levels is social media, with a special mention for the risk of spoilers via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which means that more people are compelled to watch live television. Other reasons given by Thinkbox to account for television viewing growth in the UK include HDTV technology which enhances the viewing experience, and on-demand services like BBC iPlayer that encourages linear TV catch-up.