Digital Britain watching more television

By Julian Clover
December 17, 2009 08.24 UK

A UK increasingly geared for the digital format has seen the highest increase in TV watching when compared to 11 other markets. But average viewing in France, Germany, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands fell.

In its annual International Communications Market report the regulator Ofcom found the UK enjoys the lowest mobile and broadband prices, but that broadband speeds are generally slower.

The UK saw the highest average increase in TV watching during 2008, rising by 3.2% to 3.8%. Although higher than the European average of 3.5 hours per day, it is still below Poland, Italy and Spain. Viewers in Sweden watch the least amount of television (2.7 hours per day), but even this represented a 1.9% increase across the year.

Spain has seen the fastest rate of digital growth with 18% of households migrating to digital services during 2008.

The UK remains the country with the highest proportion of main sets converted to digital television. The figure of 88% represented an increase of 3 percentage points on the previous 12 months. The US was next with 76% of sets having digital TV, a 6% increase closely followed by Spain with 74% of households converted to digital by the end of 2008, the 18% increase representing the largest of the countries surveyed. The US is one of a number of countries where digital switchover has completed subsequent to the end of the survey period.

Spain recorded the highest take up of digital terrestrial television services at 45%. The UK was second on 38%, France was Italy were joint third on 30%.

Ireland led digital satellite reception: 42% were connected to the main set, closely followed by Poland on 41%. The UK was third on 36%.

The US was the unsurprising leader in digital cable (36%), followed by Canada (32%) and the Netherlands (28%).

IPTV barely rated a mention; France led on 14% and Sweden was on 10%.