UK is the most advanced TV-watching nation in the world, with more people using catch-up services and tablets to get their fix of television than in the rest of Europe, Japan, Australia or the US, according to Ofcom research

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AceMediaNews – Dec.10: Over September and October, 70% of UK adults said they watched free-to-air catch-up services such as iPlayer or All4, well ahead of the next most enthusiastic streamers in France and Spain, where only 52% do so.

The research also found that more than four out of five in the UK watch some kind of online TV or film service once services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are included, more than the 76% who do so in Italy and Spain.

Ofcom research into TV watchingOfcom research into TV watching

The trends are in part being driven by the uptake of personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. More than half of UK adults now own a tablet, and 16% will use one to watch TV, ahead of the number two tablet watching country, Italy on 14%.

The UK also has one of the highest proportions of TVs connected to the internet – 42% – more than any of the other countries Ofcom looked at except Spain. More than half of those with connected TVs are watching subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, while 70% are watching free-to-air services.

The rapid adoption of new technologies means the UK also had the fastest decline in traditional live TV viewing, down 4.9% to an average of 220 minutes a day. It is also hitting DVDs, with 32% of UK adults saying they were watching fewer films and box sets on discs.

In terms of total TV viewing, including catch-up, but not on-demand services such as Netflix, the UK sits roughly in the middle of the 17 countries Ofcom looked at, with each adult watching an average of three hours 40 minutes of TV per day.

The US watched the most TV – four hours and 42 minutes on average – while Swedes watch the least at two hours and 33 minutes.

Live, linear TV viewing still accounts for the bulk of viewing, three hours and 13 minutes compared with 27 minutes of catchup.

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