What People Watch articles

What People Watch: Viewing by pub goers and June summary

13 July 2020

Welcome to What People Watch, a series exploring different aspects of how UK audiences are watching television now. This week’s edition looks at how television viewing by regular pub goers was affected by the closure of pubs, and features a round-up of viewing in what we hope will be the last UK-wide month of lockdown.

TV set viewing to BARB-reported channels

For the week ending July 5th (calendar week 27), consolidated 7-day TV set viewing to BARB-reported channels was 191 minutes a day, up from 182 minutes a day the previous week. As has been the case throughout lockdown, viewing remained higher than the same week of 2019, this week being +14.5% up.

Unidentified viewing for the week was up seven minutes per day week-on-week, at 82 minutes a day.

The preliminary live and same-day viewing figures for week ending July 12th (week 28) indicate that viewing to BARB reported channels has fallen slightly when compared to the previous week, at 170 minutes a week (from 177 minutes). We would expect to also see a fall in the 7-day data as well when they are available, although we would still expect this to consolidate above the same week in 2019. Unidentified viewing for the week is also down slightly, to 74 minutes a day, although this is still considerably ahead of the 2019 figure of 46 minutes.

Television viewing by regular and non-pub goers
Whenever a household joins the BARB panel, we ask everyone aged 16+ in the home to complete our Lifestyle Insights questionnaire, which asks questions about the respondent’s lifestyle. The answers to this questionnaire are also known as Additional Panel Classifications, and these can be used in conjunction with BARB data to allow television viewing to be analysed by lifestyle interests.

With lockdown beginning to ease across the UK, Saturday July 4th was dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ by some, in no small part because the nation’s pubs were able to re-open. One of our Lifestyle Insights questions asks respondents about the last time they went to a pub, bar or club. Using the answers to this question, we can assign respondents as either regular pub goers (those who visited a pub today or yesterday) or non-pub goers (those who have not visited a pub in the last 12 months) and analyse their television viewing habits.

Viewing by non-pub goers aged 18-65 is always higher than for regular pub goers of the same age. Across the 11 Saturdays in 2020 before lockdown was introduced, non-pub goers watched 32% more television than regular pub goers on average.

The chart illustrates the percentage of additional live/VOSDAL viewing by non-pub goers compared with regular pub goers for Saturdays in 2020. We have focused on live/VOSDAL viewing as this is the type of viewing that pub goers would be most likely to miss. The impact of lockdown being introduced, and later relaxed, is clear.

By Saturday March 21st the nation had been given instructions to avoid going to public places, but pubs had not been ordered to close. Still, regular pub goers increased the amount of television they were watching, and so the gap between their viewing and that of non-pub goers narrowed (grey bar).

By the following Saturday (navy bar), lockdown had been introduced in the UK, including the closure of pubs. On this day, non-pub goers watched an average of 238 live/VOSDAL minutes compared with 205 minutes by regular pub goers, just 16% more. This is half the pre-lockdown average difference of 32%.

Easter weekend (purple bar) saw large parts of the UK enjoy beautiful weather; Saturday April 11th was the hottest day of the year for the fourth day in a row according to the Met Office. Both groups watched less television than they had the weekend before, but regular pub goers decreased their viewing to a greater degree, widening the gap between them.

Having reached June 20th (green bar), news that lockdown restrictions were to be eased resulted in regular pub goers reducing their television consumption, again widening the gap between the two groups. That Saturday was only the third Saturday of 14 during the time pubs were closed that the gap between regular pub goers and non-pub goers was greater than the pre-lockdown average. The fourth occasion came on July 4th (gold bar) when pubs were reopened and we can surmise that at least some of the regular pub goers returned to their favourite hostelry.

For more examples of how the Lifestyle Insights questionnaire answers can be used to analyse viewing, read our BARB Explained.

June summary
In What People Watch edition 7, we reported that consolidated 7-day TV set viewing to BARB-reported channels in April – the first full month of lockdown in the UK – was 211 minutes a day. The figure for May 2020 was 192 minutes a day. In June 2020, the figure was 189 minutes. Although this is a slight decline on May, this figure for June 2020 is 9% higher than the equivalent figure for June 2019 (173 minutes).

In terms of total TV set usage (which includes unidentified viewing and viewing to BARB-reported BVOD services on TV sets), the figure for June 2020 was 272 minutes a day. Again, this is a drop from May (281 minutes), but still comfortably the highest June figure since BARB started using its current definition of unidentified viewing in 2013. June 2016 was the next highest with a total TV set usage figure almost 40 minutes lower.

Programming focus
The top programmes for June, based on consolidated 7-day TV set viewing across four screens, were led by BBC1’s The Salisbury Poisonings, which averaged 10.4m viewers across four screens on June 14th (the top-rated individual broadcast). Other programmes in the top ten for the month (using only the top-rated broadcast per programme title), included editions of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Antiques Roadshow. With lockdown conditions easing at different times across the UK, the top-ranked news programme was BBC Weekend News on June 14th with an average audience of 5.9m, marginally behind the top-ranked news programme from May (6.2m – excludes the news special following the Prime Minister’s broadcast in May). Top-flight football also returned in June. While no football match made the top ten during June, Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Norwich on June 27th came in 17th place, with an average audience of just over 5m on BBC1.

Doug Whelpdale, Insights Manager, BARB

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