Home TV watching habits

Published on August 3rd, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw

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In Front of the Box

How much time to you spend watching TV these days? According to a new OFCOM report, the viewing habits of the young and old are very different.

Whilst the older generation still enjoy watching their favourite TV programmes on their traditional TV set, the younger generation are more likely to use an array of devices such as smart phones and tablets.

Teenagers and children now watch a third less TV on traditional sets than they did in 2010. Digital services such as Netflix and Amazon are growing in popularity with this generation.

This is due to faster internet speeds encouraging the growth of streaming services. Therefore, this is where the generation gap is most obvious. 76% of young people pay for a subscription service compared with only 19% of people aged over 65.

In addition, four in five adults admit to “binge-watching” multiple episodes of their favourite shows, such as Game of Thrones. One third admit that they lose sleep so they can keep up with the latest episodes to prevent any irritating “spoiler alerts”.

Our 21st Century Viewing Habits

Comedy Greats Stamp Cover

The way we watch Film and Television in our homes has changed significantly over the past 30-40 years. Back in 1977, comedy greats, Morecambe and Wise were at the top of their game and they are one of the acts remembered in the Comedy Greats Stamp Cover as shown above.

Their Christmas Show in 1977 saw viewing figures over 28 million. It was the highlight of family viewing.  Compare this with the most watched UK TV show of 2016, the final of The Great British Bake Off. Viewing figures for this show were 15.9 million. The last show to reach over 20 million viewers was the 30th anniversary live edition of EastEnders in 2015.

Sitting Down as a Family

watching TV on multiple devices

Today, watching television as a family has diminished. Only a third of those surveyed say they sit down to watch TV as a family. Yet, nearly half (45%) admit that they watch television or films alone. Whilst this may seem quite anti-social, younger viewers say they find this way of watching TV relaxing and allows them to have something to talk about with their friends.

Despite these changes in our viewing habits, traditional TV broadcasting accounts for 85% of our viewing. Whereas, subscription services account for just 5%. However, how this will change over the next 10 years will be very interesting.

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