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Britain a nation of TV binge-watchers, says Ofcom

Thursday, August 3rd 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Some 40 million Brits now ‘binge watch’ episodes of their favourite TV shows back to back, research from Ofcom has revealed.

More than 10 million even admit to missing out on sleep and feeling tired the next day so they can watch another episode.

Ofcom, which has dubbed the trend ‘Box Set Britain’, said eight in 10 adults now watch multiple episodes of shows in a single sitting.

The regulator’s annual Communications Market Report shows a stark difference in the viewing habits of older and younger people, with the latter far more likely to use streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Older viewers, Ofcom says, prefer TV series to be released week by week “in the traditional manner”.

BBC iPlayer is the most popular catch-up service, used by 63% of UK adults. ITV Hub is next on 40% followed by YouTube (38%) and Netflix (31%).

Nearly a third of adults (28%) watch programmes recorded on their set top box, 20% are subscribed to Amazon Prime and 16% watch TV and films via Facebook.

The number of teenagers using YouTube to watch TV shows and films is significantly higher than the general population at 66%.

But while catch-up and streaming services increase in popularity, we’re not quite ready to give up traditional TV just yet.

Ofcom says 91% of the TV-watching public still watch broadcast TV at least once a week.

And a report by Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, found that 86% of all TV is watched live.

'Hard to resist'

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “Technology has revolutionised the way we watch TV.

“The days of waiting a week for the next episode are largely gone, with people finding it hard to resist watching multiple episodes around the house or on the move.

“But live television still has a special draw, and the power to bring the whole family together in a common experience.”

The Communications Market Report also shows an increase in the number of broadband connections receiving download speeds of 30Mbps or more.

In June 2016, 44% of all fixed broadband connections were superfast, up from 38% a year previously, while nearly two thirds of mobile subscriptions are now 4G.

The average data use per fixed residential broadband connection was 132GB in June 2016, an increase of 36% year-on-year, while the average data use for mobiles reached 1.3GB, up from 0.9GB in June 2015.

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