Brits losing sleep over binge viewing

May 26, 2014 07.49 Europe/London By Robert Briel

TV bingeing, not sleeping is the new trend in the UK, according to the new Digital Divide report from Deloitte Research.

Almost a fifth of those surveyed admit to often getting to bed later than they planned to squeeze in just one more episode. The survey found that the propensity to binge was slightly higher for women (19%) than men (15%) with single-person households binging less than those in shared households (30% that co-habit against 19% single) .

Bingeing predominates among younger viewers, with a third of 25–34 year olds bingeing. The wealthier you are the more likely you are to binge, with those earning £55,000 or more almost twice as likely to prefer back-to-back watching as those who earn less than £20,000 a year.

“Bingeing is the antithesis of the traditional TV model. What you lose if you replace episodic viewing with bingeing is the sense of shared experience and the social inclusion of having experienced something exciting together. To gain social inclusion it is important to have seen the latest episodes of Sherlock, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones,” notes te report.

Cord-cutting is not on the agenda of most people, the research found. Some 72% of respondents say they regularly watched ten or fewer channels, yet all TV households have access to at least 50. And yet the difference between multichannel homes and those that pay only the compulsory BBC licence fee is only an average of around three extra channels watched. This may suggest that pay-TV’s relevance is diminishing in a world in which a vast array of additional content is available through relatively cheap or free-to-view streaming services.

However, pay TV subscribers are 50% more likely than free-to-air-only homes to subscribe to an additional TV streaming service. Far from thinning or cutting the cord, demand for new content suppliers is thickening it.

And inertia means that people are maintaining their subscriptions: half of subscribers to the UK’s most popular paid service say their reason for continuing is that they always did so. Access to specific content does not feature highly in the selection criteria. This habitual purchase of pay–TV is a sure sign that the industry has a great deal of resilience. “Although it is likely that predicting its death will remain fashionable, pay-TV in the UK seems set to remain with us for the foreseeable future,” according to Deloitte.