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Jan 27, 2009

Britons watching more TV than ever due to recession

Britons are watching more television than ever due to the increasing choice offered by digital channels and the recession, which has encouraged people to stay in more often.

The average person watched nearly four hours of television a day in 2008 or 26 hours and 18 minutes per week - 48 minutes longer per week than in 2007, according to the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB).

This matches the previous highest broadcast viewing figure on record, reached in 2003.

The growth – seen across all age groups – has been driven by commercial television channels, which now account for 63 per cent of all broadcast television viewing, according to analysis of the data by Thinkbox, the television marketing body for the main UK commercial broadcasters.

Family game shows like Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor are also responsible for increasing numbers of people staying in.

"Big entertainment shows like X Factor are getting bigger and bringing people together in the living room" according to research by Thinkbox.

Bad weather, including a very wet summer last year, has encouraged people to stay indoors and the economic downturn has led to people taking advantage of the free entertainment, according to the report.

Thinkbox also says people are watching more television because there is greater take-up of digital TV services and Sky+.

However, the figures do not include on-demand TV viewing and the explosion in viewing via web services, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand Five and Sky Player, and IPTV platforms, such as Virgin Media and BT Vision.

Tess Alps, Thinkbox's Chief Executive: "TV remains people's favourite form of entertainment, whatever technology delivers it. These figures show that people rely on channels and schedules to help them find the TV they want to watch. At a time when we are lucky to have more excellent TV to choose from than ever, trusted channels remain crucial to guide people through the choice. Watching live is driven by human need not by technological limitation."

Source : Telegraph
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