Freshers find friendship through love for TV

Students making friends in their first month at university are most likely to bond over their favourite TV programmes according to research* released today by TV Licensing.

Whether they are Strictly super-fans, or hooked on the latest gossip from TOWIE, over 70 per cent of current university students said they found common ground by striking up conversation about the programmes they love. Students need to be covered by a licence to watch or record TV as its being broadcast, however they are watching, whether on laptops, phones or any other device.

The research also found, perhaps surprisingly, only a third (36 per cent) break the ice by discussing recent trends appearing on social media.

There are some students (one in five or 20 per cent) who aren’t afraid to show their alternative side by striking up conversations about tattoos and piercings. Whereas showing off their competitive nature is a little more popular as 43 per cent of students lead the way in discussing sport.

Kim Hayman, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

First conversations are crucial to finding pals to watch your favourite programmes with. Whether it’s Poldark, X-Factor or Bake Off, you will need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch TV as it is being broadcast, on any device not just a TV.
You can check whether you need a licence by visiting or call us on 0300 790 6113.

Dr Katherine Woolf, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and Honorary Research Associate in Psychology, University College London, has recently researched how students make friends with each other:

My research shows students tend to make friends with those who are similar to themselves in terms of age, nationality, whether or not they drink alcohol, gender, ethnicity and personality – particularly how extraverted they are.
These are some of the clear factors which subconsciously influence students as they seek out those with similar interests. TV programmes often drive a conversation so it’s not surprising students would want to find people they can discuss the latest episode with.

Other recent research** by TV Licensing shows three in four (78 per cent) students watch TV content via any device. Of these students, one in three (34 per cent) students use a laptop to watch live TV. Students will need a licence if they are watching or recording TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast, whatever device is being used to view. Generally speaking, students won’t be covered by a communal TV Licence or their parents’ licence.

More information can be found online or by speaking to an adviser over the phone on 0300 790 6113.

*Research was conducted by Youthsight among 1,000 students across the UK in february 2015.

**Research was conducted by Harris Interactive among 220 students across UK city centres where there is a large student population, in May 2015



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