UK nation of telly lovers, influenced more by social media and mobile

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 15-03-2012

Totally reinforcing received wisdom, research from TV Licensing has found that the average Brit spends over two months a year watching TV, with social media sites increasingly influencing viewing choices.
The report highlighted broader changes to the UK’s viewing habits, showing just how TV consumption has changed with the revolution in devices and delivery platforms. People consume on average 28 hours of TV, which includes 2.5 hours of catch-up, on the traditional TV set. Furthermore it is thought that Brits are spending an extra three hours per week watching programmes on laptops, smartphones and tablets. In total, this could amount to watching over 31 hours per week, or more than two months per year. Bearing this out, the average household now has 2.3 TV sets, 1.51 laptops, 0.77 smartphones and 0.33 tablets on which to watch TV and just more than a third (37%) would be investing in additional viewing technology in 2012.
Mobile is increasingly taking off, at long last, with a quarter watching TV content on the move in 2011, via mobile viewing technologies. Not surprisingly, the figure is much higher for under 35s, 35%. More people are creating their own TV schedules, with time-shifted viewing accounting for 9.2% of UK consumption in 2011, up from 7.1% in 2010.
Of all the new trends revealed by the survey, the one that TV Licensing observes as of special is interest is ‘chatterboxing’, that is the trend of commenting via a second screen about a programme. A quarter of all adults (26%), and just under half (44%) of those aged under 35, say they have commented to others, online or via SMS, about a TV programme they have been watching.
Yet despite its seemingly ground breaking nature, and something for digital natives only, the research data also shows that chatterboxing could be reinforcing some people’s desire to watch scheduled TV. TV Licensing quotes an ICM poll suggests that a quarter (24%) of social media savvy adults, aged under 35, watch a programme live, rather than on catch up, because they enjoy being part of the related social media chatter. And, a fifth said that they were more likely to watch something as it is being shown on TV because they are worried ‘social media spoilers’ will ruin the ending.