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Brits 'prefer watching TV on laptop' but most still tune in on a TV set

Tuesday, April 25th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A new report claims only a quarter of Brits prefer to watch TV on a television set – but the data showing how people actually watch TV tells a different story

Research by Accenture found that the traditional TV set is the screen of choice for only 25% of UK consumers – down from 56% last year.

Accenture’s Digital Consumer Survey shows that 33% of Brits would rather watch TV shows on a laptop or desktop computer, while 11% are happiest watching on a tablet and 7% prefer their smartphone.

It also found that only 17% of consumers prefer to watch sport on their TV – down from 35% the year before.

The results are in stark contrast to the latest research into how people actually watch TV.

Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, says 98% of the TV the average viewer watched in 2016 was on a television set.

Its Ad Nation report, published in November, revealed that the advertising industry in particular massively overestimates the amount of time people spend watching TV on other devices.

Ad industry professionals polled by Thinkbox estimated that people do 37% of their TV viewing on laptops, mobiles and tablets while the data from BARB shows the actual figure to be just 2%.

Nevertheless, the managing director of Accenture’s broadcast business, Gavin Mann, said: “The dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending.

'Compelling content'

“While a great number of people still watch plenty of TV shows on TV sets, our research uncovers a rapid acceleration in their preference for viewing on other digital devices — especially laptops, desktops and smartphones.”

Mr Mann said the “rapid shift in consumer preferences” is down to the increased amount of “compelling content” available across a range of devices.

Accenture’s report, which polled 26,000 consumers in 26 countries, also found that mobile devices are now rivalling the laptop as the most popular device for watching short video clips.

In the UK, 45% prefer watching short clips on their smartphone or tablet compared to 36% last year. 43% would rather watch on their laptop or desktop and only 4% prefer to watch these clips on a TV.

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