Latest news insight

2010 – TV viewing hits record levels

3 March 2011

The average time spent watching TV per day in UK homes rose to 4 hours 2 minutes, from 3 hours 45 minutes in 2009. Part of this viewing increase is attributable to increased monitoring of secondary TV sets. Digital reception grew by 7% in total, as digital switchover continues throughout the UK, the highest increase being digital terrestrial (DTT).

Television audiences in 2010 were fuelled by a number of significant events, in addition to high rating finales of popular reality shows. The weather played a notable part, with extremely cold snaps at both ends of the year when many of the population were snowed-in. The volcanic ash cloud prevented people from flying. The first live televised political party leaders’ pre general election debates broadcast in the UK attracted in total over 22 million viewers. Disasters around the world affected viewing: the Haitian earthquake; the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform and 33 trapped Chilean miners, for example. At home, an horrendous shooting spree in Cumbria, a manhunt for a gunman in Northumbria and student riots attracted the attention of viewers. It has also been speculated that an effect of the continued economic recession is a reason for people staying home.

On a happier note a royal engagement was announced in November. Sport played its part too with the Ryder Cup in South Wales, the Ashes tour of Australia attracting viewers in the middle of the night (also recording onto DVDR and PVRs) and most significantly the Fifa World Cup which was broadcast in high definition for the first time. The final between Spain and Holland attracted an average audience of 17.8m, SD and HD combined, compared to an average of 16.7m in 2006 for the final between Italy and France.

In 2011 the marriage of the son of the heir to the throne in April is likely to create interest. For some past televised royal events see below:

"Four Weddings and a Funeral"

29768Wedding of Charles and Diana21.7m (JICTAR)
31594Wedding of Andrew and Fergie20.5m
36312Wedding of Edward and Sophie13.9m
38443Wedding of Charles and Camilla8.5m
35674Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales19.3m