According to the research – done by Thinkbox, the UK marketing body for commercial TV, and based on BARB viewing data – the decline in TV viewing was “entirely down to a drop in TV set viewing,” which decreased by 4.7%.
Viewing on other screens, such as tablets and laptops, grew year-on-year by 17%, though the research implies that this still only accounts for a very small proportion of overall TV viewing.
Thinkbox said that in 2014 98.4% of all TV was watched on a TV set, with just 1.6% watched on other screens. Some 86% of TV set viewing was also on a main TV set in the living room.
The non-TV set viewing was calculated based on stream data provided by the UK broadcasters, while the TV set viewing data came from BARB’s live viewing panel, which is designed to offer a representative picture of the in-home viewing behaviour of the 26 million TV households within the UK.
“In 2014, 88% of all TV set viewing was watched live compared to 89% in 2013,” said Thinkbox. However, it said that there is no data yet to show what proportion of TV watched on other screens is live-streamed.
“Specifically in the 58% of households that own a digital television recorder, 83% of TV on a TV set in 2014 was watched live compared to 84% in 2013. So the level of non-live viewing (i.e. playback and VOD within 7 days on a TV set) seems to be settling around the 15-20% mark.”
The research said that 65.8% of TV set viewing in 2014 was to commercial TV channels, meaning that the average person watched 2 hours 25 minutes of commercial TV a day.
As the fastest adopters of viewing TV via other screens, people aged 16 to 34 watched 7.1% less TV on TV sets in 2014 compared to 2013. However, 74.8% of the TV viewing by people in this age demographic was on commercial TV.
Thinkbox said that though there was an overall decline in TV viewing, TV’s reach of the UK population stayed virtually the same – 94.2% a week in 2014 compared to 94.6% in 2013. “It isn’t that people have stopped watching linear TV; it is that those who were watching the most watched a bit less,” said Thinkbox.