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Brits prefer box sets to books, according to Sky Box Sets

Monday, May 16th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Nearly two thirds of Britons would rather settle down to a TV box set than a good book, research has revealed.

The research, commissioned by Sky Box Sets, found that 64% of Brits would choose a box set over a book, rising to 82% of under-24s.

A quarter of respondents (27%) have three or more box sets on the go at any one time and on average recommend favourite shows to other people three times a week.

6% of 16 to 34-year-olds confess to pulling a sickie from work to catch up on their box set viewing, while 12% said they’d rather watch their favourite show than have sex with a partner.

According to the research, a quarter (24%) of box set lovers said TV is a hot topic on a first date, while 21% of 16 to 24-year-olds say they’ve judged wanting to get to know someone better on the basis of their favourite box set.

And at the other end of the scale, 9% admit they’ve tuned out after discovering their date was a fan of a show they didn’t like.

Box sets are such a part of everyday life, that for nearly a quarter of people (22%) they’re a regular topic of conversation at work.

More than half (52%) share their thoughts on what they’ve watched immediately on social media and 20% admit to feeling excluded if they hear others discussing a box set they haven’t yet seen.

To avoid that fear of missing out, dubbed FOMO, one in five people stay up all night to make sure they don’t miss out on the conversation.

For 10%, they’re not prepared to give up on their sleep but don’t want to look out of the loop, so lie about watching a box set episode, instead looking up episode synopses online.

It’s probably no surprise that according to the research, Game of Thrones is the number one show people fib about seeing.

'Connecting with others'

Behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny said the research showed people’s need for “shared experiences”.

“The most important part of being human is connecting with others, and we should celebrate what helps us do that.

“Compared to books, box sets are a new phenomenon, but one nonetheless that gets people talking and connecting.

"With one in five people admitting to cheating, by looking up episodes they have missed online, it demonstrates the importance of feeling part of something.

“The best part the box set trend is the democracy involved. Box sets transcend social divides cutting across economic status and education and enable us to come together as a whole.”

With shows like Game of Thrones, the X-Files and The Walking Dead drawing cult followings, 73% of under-24s and 57% of 25 to 34-year-olds said they would love to join a club to talk about their shows.

Sky Box Sets has launched its Sky Box Sets Club, which will help people talk about the box sets they love with friends and family, through tools like ice-breakers and discussion points.

Luke Bradley-Jones, director of TV and content products at Sky, said: “With more and more people preferring to relax in front of a good box set rather than pick up a book, we want to help them kick start their conversations through Sky Box Sets Club.

“It is a brilliant new way to catch up with friends, at home or online, over a shared love of addictively good TV shows.”

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