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The UK’s TV viewing habits. How are you watching?

Posted by Louise Andrews on 26th November 2013

Around a year ago the UK’s eight year digital switchover process came to an end in Belfast, when the last analogue transmission was shut down.

It marked a critical milestone in the evolution of the UK’s TV landscape. Fast forward 12 months and TV viewers have never had so much choice when it comes to accessing and watching TV content.

Live broadcasts are now combining with catch-up and on-demand through new services from YouView and Freesat, while pay TV providers continue to expand their list of channels and services.

Add to this the increasingly advanced digital recording features, 3D viewing and enhanced picture quality through HD and 4K and you could argue the UK TV viewer has never had it so good.

But while we are seeing the rapid development of new TV services, are viewers embracing these dramatic changes?

The UK’s TV viewing habits

New research from our client Humax, launched this month, provides a snapshot into how UK viewers are enjoying TV content. It sheds light on TV viewing habits, what we are watching, how we are watching and our ‘must have’ features.

The majority of us still watch live TV, but 28% say their preferred way to watch is to play back recordings. Catch-up and on-demand is less popular, but it’s interesting to see the TV is the chosen ‘screen’ for this type of viewing, over a laptop, tablet or PC.

TV appeal

TV viewers have a vast range of options when it comes to choosing a TV service, but the research reveals what really matters.

When it comes to TV ‘must haves’, options like 3D and HD are low on the list of priorities. Instead, subscription-free services are key, with simple yet effective features like live pause or rewinding a programme having high appeal.

Consumer tech buying word cloud

Play it again Sam

The Humax research also reveals 65% of us own some type of digital TV recorder and nine out of 10 use these to record regularly. On average, 29 hours of content is stored on each hard drive – expect to find a host of soaps and drama series.

Around a decade ago Freeview was very much in its infancy and it was the ‘red button’ that promised to transform the TV experience in the UK. Today, we can pretty much choose to watch TV whenever and however we want. For now, it’s primarily subscription-free, live viewing, but I anticipate a very different picture way before the next 10 years of broadcasting is up.

Louise Andrews

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile and versatile Associate Director and fantastic resource for the team, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.