Hand on clicker, pointed at a TV.

A survey of viewing habits in the UK points to the growing use of catch-up and VOD (Video On Demand) television services in western economies. The use of catch-up or VOD such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player now accounts for a fifth of the UK’s TV viewing, according to the first-ever YouView census into national television habits for 2013. It also found that in a typical week, the average Brit claims to record just under nine hours of TV each week and spends around six hours taking advantage of the ability to tune in to their favourite shows on demand.

Bigger share by the young

The study indicated that among 18-24s this rises to nine hours and 20 minutes of on demand viewing, which is just under a third of their weekly TV enjoyment. And it seems the next generation’s on demand (VOD) viewing habits appear to be similar. Parents of under-16s, who were questioned as part of the survey, estimate their kids watch on average seven hours of catch-up per week. The research also indicated that even for the over 55s catch-up still makes up 14% of their viewing time.

Different Devices

Alongside these figures, the study identified a host of key changes and trends in the habits of telly addicts when it comes to the different technologies available to them. While three quarters (77%) of those questioned still use their main TV the most, the average home now has four different devices (including their main TV) on which they can watch TV, which is just over double the number they had five years ago. However, this rises to an average of six devices for the 18-24 year olds questioned. The study of more than 2000 people, carried out by YouGov for on demand TV service YouView, also found that while the average home records around 10 programmes in a typical week, they delete four of those on average without watching them - with entertainment the mostly likely (36%) to be binned followed by films (32%) and documentaries (32%).

Steve Conway, Head of Marketing, YouView said, “Television is a huge part of British life but we know the way people view it is changing beyond all recognition. What is becoming important to TV fans is being able to watch what they want, whenever they want it and this research supports that. Among 18-24 year olds, 37% said the ability to watch on demand TV was very important compared to a quarter nationally and as a nation we are craving more and more time with our favourite programmes, on our own terms."

Watching TV on computers

The research also found that across the country, alongside their TV, 57% of those questioned said they use their computer to watch television content, 14% do so through a games console like the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 and 25% access TV on a tablet with iPad and iPad mini the favourite at 19% vs. 6% for Android models.

Spending on subscription TV services has also increased by around 40% in five years with the average household monthly payment now £29.89. Nearly a quarter (23%) spend more than £50 per month. TV-related downloads also account for £1.56 per month from iTunes or the Google Play Store, with men spending £2.03 versus £1.13 for women.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.