Catch-up TV now accounts for a fifth of British TV viewing

July 01, 2013, 12:59 PM GMT+0

  • A quarter of adults claim they now watch more television than five years ago
  • Catch-up/On Demand represents around six hours of TV use for the average home in a typical week
  • 26% of homes have six or more devices they can watch TV on compared to 5% five years ago

The use of catch-up or on demand (VOD) television services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player now accounts for a fifth of the nation’s TV viewing* according to the first-ever YouView census into national television habits for 2013.

It also found that in a typical week, the average Brit claims to record just under nine hours of TV each week and spends around six hours taking advantage of the ability to tune in to their favourite shows on demand.

The online study, to mark YouView’s first birthday this July, indicated that among 18-24s this rises to nine hours and 20 minutes of on demand viewing, which is just under a third of their weekly TV enjoyment**.

And it seems the next generation’s on demand (VOD) viewing habits appear to be similar. Parents of under-16s, who were questioned as part of the survey, estimate their kids watch on average seven hours of catch-up per week.

The research also indicated that even for the over 55s catch-up still makes up 14% of their viewing time.

Alongside these figures, the study identified a host of key changes and trends in the habits of telly addicts when it comes to the different technologies available to them.

While three quarters (77%) of those questioned still use their main TV the most, the average home now has four different devices (including their main TV) on which they can watch TV, which is just over double the number they had five years ago. However, this rises to an average of six devices for the 18-24 year olds questioned.

The online study of more than 2000 people, carried out by YouGov for on demand TV service YouView, also found that while the average home records around 10 programmes in a typical week, they delete four of those on average without watching them - with entertainment the mostly likely (36%) to be binned followed by films (32%) and documentaries (32%).

Steve Conway, Head of Marketing, YouView said, “Television is a huge part of British life but we know the way people view it is changing beyond all recognition. What is becoming important to TV fans is being able to watch what they want, whenever they want it and this research supports that.

“Among 18-24 year olds, 37% said the ability to watch on demand TV was very important compared to a quarter nationally and as a nation we are craving more and more time with our favourite programmes, on our own terms.

“YouView seamlessly integrates live and on demand TV on your television and the results of this survey are interesting as it shows a quarter questioned are now watching more TV than five years ago and more than three quarters watch television content on their TV.”

The online research also found that across the country, alongside their TV, 57% of those questioned said they use their computer to watch television content, 14% do so through a games console like the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 and 25% access TV on a tablet with iPad and iPad mini the favourite at 19% vs. 6% for Android models.

Spending on subscription TV services has also increased by around 40% in five years with the average household monthly payment now £29.89. Nearly a quarter (23%) spend more than £50 per month. TV-related downloads also account for £1.56 per month from iTunes or the Google Play Store, with men spending £2.03 versus £1.13 for women.

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See the full results

For further information and images please contact:

Victoria Fairclough 0203 5444119

Notes to Editors

The survey was carried out online by YouGov in May 2013 and questioned over 2000 adults aged 18 years old from across the UK, forming a nationally representative sample. YouGov gives 98% confidence level (+/- 2% margin of error) and the base was a nationally representative sample of all UK.


* Fifth of TV viewing comes from the average of figures identified by this survey claiming approx. 16hrs live TV viewing, nine hours recorded and six hours catch-up on a typical week

** Just under a third of TV viewing comes from the average of figures identified by this survey claiming approx. 11hrs live TV viewing, 10 hours recorded and nine hours catch-up on a typical week

Other highlights from the YouView study include the following claims:

  • 1hr 49mins of TV is claimed to be watched out of the home each week (e.g. while commuting or travelling)
  • Just under one in 10 (9%) men claim they use a device to watch TV at work during a lunch break
  • One in 10 (9%) people claim they used a computer most often to view TV
  • 46% would like the ability to watch programmes whenever they like without waiting for an initial broadcast
  • Around a fifth (21%) would like the ability to create a more personalised programme guide
  • 30% still tend to use a printed TV guide to find out what’s on television
  • 55% have purchased a new television as their main set in the last three years
  • 17% of respondents claim to have bought a new TV in the last year - the same number who’ve had theirs at least 5yrs
  • The most common TV size is 32inch with 24% who have a TV in their household owning one. Just under a fifth (19%) have a 42inch television
  • One in 10 (11%) claim however that they now own a television over 46 inches or more
  • 46% have an HD-ready TV but don’t currently watch any HD content
  • 10% think their household will buy a 4K TV within the next two to three years
  • 29% claim to watch TV in the bedroom (32% male v 27% female)

NB: The base number for each question varies depending on access/ownership to each of the technologies mentioned.

About YouView

YouView is an on demand TV service with over 70 live digital channels. It seamlessly combines seven day catch-up on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 with a library of on demand television programmes, films and radio. A range of quality content is available from partners including Now TV powered by Sky, milkshake! and STV.

YouView has record, pause and rewind TV functionality as well as a simple search feature. YouView is offered as part of broadband subscription bundles from TalkTalk and BT. It is also available to buy subscription-free from all major retailers and many independent electrical stores including John Lewis, Currys, Argos, Tesco, Amazon, Richer Sounds and Euronics.

For more information visit: and on Twitter @YouView.