1. Home
  2. News
  3. More than half of Britons are addicted to...

More than half of Britons are addicted to watching TV

Friday, May 1st 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than half of Britons would describe themselves as TV addicts, according to new research by Freeview.

In its report, National Obsession: our relationship with TV, 52% of respondents admitted they were addicted to watching television.

Freeview found that people’s viewing habits were borne out of habit and routine, with 24% saying they watched TV ‘on autopilot’.

A third (33%) said TV provides a sense of structure to their lives and 45% said TV helps them to relax or switch off.

Brits are also cautious when choosing new programmes to watch, according to the report.

One in six (16%) said they will watch a new TV show because of a ‘fear of missing out’ and one in four (25%) because it’s being talked about in the media.

But many are risk averse, opting for new shows that come recommended by friends or family (43%) or star their favourite actor (35%).

Guy North, managing director of Freeview, said: “Technology is changing how we watch, but we wanted to conduct this research to establish how this has changed our relationship with television.

“Our report shows that Britons love their telly; in fact, many of us are addicted to it.

“It also plays a valuable social role, not only helping us to relax, unwind and escape, but also bringing people together. In a world of constant tech distractions, long working hours and lots of pressure, those are good benefits.”

Mr North said that Britain’s longest-running TV soap turned 55, showing the country’s love for “old favourites”.

'Sense of community'

“So it makes sense that when Brits watch new programmes, it’s usually something relatively safe, perhaps with their favourite actor or from a writer they’re familiar with.

“But it is also interesting to see that one in six watch because of FOMO (fear of missing out).

“Clearly, the programmes you watch can be a bit of a status symbol, and certainly a popular conversation topic.”

According to the report, when Britons miss their favourite programme, it’s most often to spend time with their family (19%) or to socialise with friends (18%).

TV can also apparently help to bring family and friends together, even if that means making a compromise on what you watch.

More than a quarter of those surveyed (29%) watch television to help bring together family, partners or housemates, and a third of people (31%) make some kind of compromise or joint decision with family or housemates about what to watch.

Behavioural psychologist Dr Peter Collett said: “TV viewing is much more than a process of edification and entertainment.

“It’s also, essentially, a medium for connecting with other people, synchronising one’s own experiences with others and creating a shared emotional space.

“TV also provides an opportunity for the exchange of opinions – a chance to comment on what’s happening on the screen and to hear what the other people present are thinking.

“TV is therefore a cohesive medium, bringing people together and instilling a sense of community and belonging.”

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.

This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. Guaranteed.