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Bingeing Brits spend nearly 10 years watching telly

Wednesday, August 5th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The average Briton spends nine-and-a-half years of their adult lifetime watching TV, a new survey has revealed.

A nationwide study of 2,000 people across the UK, commissioned by uktvplay.co.uk, found that the average person watches about 24 hours of TV a week.

40% said they watched at least 26 hours a week, with 7% watching up to 40 hours a week – more than five-and-a-half hours a day.

People from the North East appeared to be the biggest telly addicts, with 52% of respondents from the region admitting they watch more than 26 hours a week, and 15% saying they regularly watched more than 40 hours a week.

Those in the East Midlands seemed to spend the least time watching television, averaging around 21 hours a week.

More than a third (37%) eat at least one meal in front of the TV every day, and the average household now has four different devices they watch TV on.

uktvplay.co.uk allows viewers to watch content from Dave, Drama, Really and Yesterday on demand.

According to its survey, 15% of Brits watched most of their TV via on demand services rather than live, rising to 33% for those aged between 18 and 24.

And for that same age group, more than a third (37%) prefer to use tablets, mobiles or laptops instead of a television set.

According to the survey, men and women share similar at-home TV habits – both watch an average of 24 hours a week and prefer to switch off by 11pm each night.


But when asked to choose one genre to watch for the rest of their lives, the majority of men chose comedy (30%), whereas woman preferred drama (43%).

When it comes to binge-watching, the average Briton will happily spend four hours in front of a single show.

Young people are more likely to watch shows in bulk than their older counterparts – 18-24-year-olds spend an average of five hours watching their favourite show whereas those aged 55 and over switch off after three.

The survey also found that many people multitask while watching TV, with 46% of people regularly using a phone or a tablet at the same time as watching television programmes.

This multitasking continues at work, with 19% admitting to watching TV in the workplace. More than half (56%) do so at their desks while 9% go to the bathroom to watch TV.

Londoners were found to be most likely to have pulled a sickie to catch up on their favourite show (12%), followed by those in Wales (11%), whereas those from the south west are least likely (4%) to skive for a TV catch-up.

On average, 63% of people indulge in alcohol while watching TV, with men the most likely to reach for the bottle (66% versus 59% of women).

According to the survey, it is the Welsh who are the most indulgent when it comes to alcohol while watching TV, with 70% of respondents enjoying a drink while watching television, compared to the Northern Irish who are the least likely to enjoy a drink with their evening viewing, with only 43% claiming they do.

UKTV's controller Emma Tennant said: “It's amazing how many hours of small screen time we rack up in a lifetime – which is testament to the great programmes available to enjoy.

“It seems we are also increasingly taking TV out of our living rooms to watch on the go and create our own TV schedules by watching even more shows on catch up services like uktvplay.co.uk.”

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