Average viewer glued to TV for 4 hours a day

The average TV viewer clocked up almost four hours’ worth of watching a day last year, a report has revealed.

A warm summer saw 2013s figures drop against 2012. Picture: Jon Savage

However, the typical daily viewing time of three hours, 55 minutes and 30 seconds was nine minutes less than the previous year, according to a report compiled from figures provided by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb).

The television set remains the centre of people’s viewing, accounting for 98.5 per cent of total TV watching time.

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Non-TV set screens, such as tablet computers and laptops, accounted for the remaining 1.5 per cent, up slightly from their 1.2 per cent share of total viewing in 2012.

Most viewing on tablets or computers was of catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer, or Channel 4’s 4oD service, but a small proportion was live streaming of TV channels.

The Olympics boosted viewing in 2012, the report by marketing body Thinkbox TV said, while warm weather during the summer last year probably pushed 2013’s average viewings lower.

The report said: “Excellent weather in 2013, which always affects TV viewing, and the fact that there were no significant sporting events, have contributed to this being nine minutes a day less than 2012.

“However, the overall trend for viewing remains strong with the average viewer watching 12 minutes more TV a day in 2013 than ten years ago.”

Commercial television stations accounted for two hours, 33 minutes of daily viewing time, meaning that the average householder saw 47 adverts a day – four more than they did five years ago.

The report said that the increase in the number of smart TVs – which are connected to the internet and allow viewers to watch catch-up services as well as on-demand TV and film services such as Netflix – would see more on-demand viewing move away from tablets and computers.

“With the spread of internet-connected TV sets, we expect 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.”

The figures also showed that in the 59 per cent of UK households which have digital TV recorders such as Sky+ or Virgin Media’s TiVo, 83.6 per cent of TV was watched live compared to 84.4 per cent in 2012.

It also found less than half of recorded programmes were watched within 24 hours of a show being recorded.

The report said: “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 a recent communications market report.”

Thinkbox chief executive Lindsey Clay said: “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.”