Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 27-07-2011

Recent technological advances in TV services—in particular digital, HD, time-shifted and catch-up—are propelling a global increase in overall TV viewing.

According to the Television – International Key Facts 2011 report published by RTL subsidiary IP Network, European viewers are watching on average six more minutes of television per year. Bulgaria has the most square-eyed viewers with 20 minutes more minutes, followed by Hungary (19 minutes) and the UK (17 minutes).

Essentially the report suggests that the transition to digital is in its end game with 72% of EU households and 55% of Europeans watching digital television and overall in the continent nearly a third of homes watching in HD. In key markets such as the UK, HD penetration is more than double this average.

There are clear positive business implications in this rise in viewing and adoption of advanced services: namely, a 7.6% increase in advertising spend across in 2010 in Western Europe.

The report’s analyses of time-shifted viewing show that recorded programmes, including advertising – are still consumed within 24 hours after broadcast, with fiction and sitcoms the most consumed programmes. Just over half (55%) of internet users watch TV on catch-up services, with 81% of catch-up users stating that they are watching as much TV as previously.

Audience growth has been driven by the shift to digital as well as three core areas of content – scripted dramas, global entertainment formats and sports. Live TV and sport dominated the most viewed programmes. In the European countries covered by the study, the viewership for football accounts for the largest share of sporting event audiences.

Commenting on the report, Mark Pimbley, UK Director, IP Network said: “This report illustrates that the global television market is growing and technological innovation, healthy audience levels and programming will continue to drive this expansion in 2011.”