TeleScope 2012 report reveals nation’s love for TV


Truly madly deeply in love with television: nation spends more than two months a year in front of screens

New report reveals trend of “chatterboxing” amongst Britons, as one in four (26%) opts for two-screen viewing.

Not only does the average Brit spend over two months a year watching television, social media sites are also influencing the viewing choices of many people, according to a report published by TV Licensing today.

Research conducted for TeleScope 2012, which looks at the UK's TV viewing habits, suggests that the trend of commenting via a second screen about a programme, or ‘chatterboxing’, is starting to grip the nation. 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.

Chatterboxing* is actually reinforcing some people’s desire to watch scheduled TV. 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. One in five (19%) are more likely to watch something as it is being shown on TV because they are worried ‘social media spoilers’ will ruin the ending.

Online buzz is further changing viewing behaviour by introducing us to new programmes, as one in six (17%) of those aged under 35 who use social media said they can be persuaded to watch a new TV programme if they see online chatter about it. 

TeleScope also reveals the average Brit’s weekly TV diet: we consume 28 hours*** of TV, which includes 2.5 hours*** of catch-up, on the ‘traditional’ TV set. We top this up even further because, on average, we estimate we spend over three hours** per week tuning into the small(er) screen, watching programmes on our laptops, smartphones and tablets, according to ICM research commissioned by TV Licensing. In total, this could amount to watching over 31 hours per week, or more than two months per year.

The report highlights broader changes to the nation’s viewing habits, as our love affair with TV evolves in response to recent innovations in technology:

  • We have a myriad of TV devices: The average household has 2.3 TV sets, 1.51 laptops, 0.77 smartphones and 0.33 tablets on which we watch television.
  • Brits love upgrading: 37% of Brits said they would be investing in additional viewing technology in 2012.
  • Watching ‘on the go’ is increasing: One in four people (25%) watched TV content on the move in 2011, via mobile viewing technologies. The figure is much higher for under 35s, as 35% watched in this way last year.
  • We watch in a variety of ways: For this summer’s Olympics, 88% of us are planning to watch the action on the traditional set. We are supplementing our viewing with mobile devices – 7% will watch some of the sporting events on a PC or laptop, and 1% will tune in on a smartphone and 1% on a tablet.
  • Catch-up viewing is rising: While live TV is still hugely dominant, more people are creating their own TV schedules, as time-shifted viewing accounted for 9.2% of UK consumption in 2011, up from 7.1% in 2010.
  • TV socialites: TV programmes bring people together physically, as well as virtually. A third of adults, aged under 35, have been to a TV-themed party in the last five years. X-Factor, World Cup 2010, Royal Wedding and Eurovision parties have proved to be among the most popular themes.
Pippa Doubtfire
Pipa Doubtfire , Head of Revenue Management, BBC TV Licensing, said:
This year’s TeleScope report points to the fact that people are taking advantage of new technologies to ensure they can enjoy TV in more ways than ever before, whether watching on bigger sets at home, via mobile technologies on the go, or on catch-up. And, of course, the chatterboxing phenomenon is bringing a new dimension to TV as a collective, social experience.

Rachel Bremer, Twitter UK spokesperson, said: "People come to Twitter to connect with what they are most interested in, and that may be a TV show, character, or live event. The public nature of the platform means that people can easily follow and join conversations about what they're watching in real time, adding to the social experience of television viewing."

Corinne Sweet
Corinne Sweet, psychologist,explains why people are “chatterboxing”:
Wanting to communicate with others when you experience emotions such as sadness, entertainment, fear or awe is a part of the human condition. As television often prompts these feelings, it is not surprising that more of us are taking advantage of evolving technology to share our thoughts as we watch TV, even if we are home alone.
Iain Logie Baird
Iain Logie Baird, grandson of the inventor of the first television set, John Logie Baird, and curator at the National Media Museum in Bradford, who has written the foreword to TeleScope 2012, said:
When my grandfather introduced the world’s first practical television system in 1926, few imagined that TV would become the powerful omnipresent medium it is today. Television continues to hold our attention for two reasons. Firstly because of the quality and choice of content. Secondly because a huge range of interfaces have evolved to suit every taste and lifestyle. We can easily control how and when we watch TV by creating our own TV schedules from the abundance of content available, or tuning in on-the-go via a mobile device. We have more choice than ever before, and each person, family or household has the opportunity to mould their television experience according to their personal preference.

Almost 97% of UK households have televisions and there are more than 25 million TV Licences in force. You need a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV, regardless of the device you use, how you receive them, or what channel you watch.

In 2010/11, TV Licensing collected an extra £99m for BBC programmes and services and kept evasion at a low of around 5%. Key findings from the TeleScope 2012 report cover:

  • Kit - what viewing technology are we using?
  • Control - how are we choosing to watch?
  • Content - what are we choosing to watch?
  • Company - how is TV going more social?

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