The percentage of UK viewers aware that it is possible to watch or download programmes online now stands at 79%, according to a new Ofcom survey.

UK Audience Attitudes to Broadcast Media reported an increase of six percentage points compared to 2012, though awareness declines with age. 60% of over 65s are aware of the possibilities, compared to 85% of 16 to 34s.

Among those aware that it is possible to watch and download programmes online from broadcasters’ websites, over half (52%) thought this content was regulated in terms of what can and can’t be shown.

Almost four in ten (39%) internet users said they used the internet to watch TV programmes online or download from TV broadcasters’ websites, compared to 35% in 2012.

Since 2011 the proportion of internet users who said they used the internet to watch TV online has increased from 33% to 39% in 2013. The increase has been particularly marked among 35 to 44 year olds, where claimed viewing of TV/films/video clips has increased by eight percentage points over the last 12 months to 40%.

The top three reasons for watching online content were that the programme had been missed; wanting to catch up at a time suitable to the viewer; and increasing choice when there was nothing else to watch.