Tablets lead to TV turn off

January, 2013

Over a third of UK adults watch catch-up TV online

  • A quarter watched less TV on a standard set in 2012 than in 2002
  • Collapse of HMV and Blockbuster could lead to increase in streaming of TV and films


One in three Brits would happily ditch their traditional TV set for another viewing device, according to new research released today.

In a study of UK viewing habits by, a third (33%) of those polled revealed they would rather watch programmes on a tablet, smart-phone or laptop than on a traditional television set.

Experts at predict that by 2017 the ordinary television set will be replaced as the primary viewing device in most British homes thanks to the humble broadband connection.

As faster fibre optic broadband is rolled out across the country, internet TV watched on gadgets such as tablets and smartphones is becoming the default choice for many people, offering the advantage of viewing on the move.

The survey also revealed a quarter of respondents (26%) watch less TV through a standard television set than they did ten years ago.

This reflects a wider generational shift in habits, as younger viewers become more mobile and are less inclined to sit in front of a static TV set.

Recent Ofcom statistics highlight that traditional television viewing among 25-34 year olds has fallen from an average of 3.5hrs to 3.3hrs per day from 2005 to 2011.3

On-demand availability has been a major factor in the shift away from traditional TV habits, with an increasing number of viewers choosing to catch up online and not be dictated to by a rigid TV schedule.
Over a third (37%) of UK adults with home internet now watch online catch-up TV, a jump of 14% compared with just three years previously. One in five adults says they now watch catch-up TV at least once a week.

The recent collapse of high street entertainment giants HMV and Blockbuster could also lead to an increase in the online streaming of content. With fewer places available to buy tangible DVDs and Blu-Rays, services such as Netflix and LoveFilm, where viewers are able to download and stream film and TV content straight to their laptop, games console or Smart TV, are expected to increase in popularity during 2013.

Despite the decrease in traditional static TV viewing, and thanks to the rise of mobile gadgets, the survey found that Brits are actually watching an average of an hour and a half extra video, film and television content a day than they were ten years ago – equivalent to more than 500 hours a year.

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert from says “It’s not surprising that the old fashioned television set is losing its crown as king of the living room. With so many different ways for people to view films and programmes over a broadband connection, modern devices such as tablets allow viewers far more flexibility to choose where and when they watch their favourite shows. We could see the ordinary TV set replaced in most homes as the primary viewing device in less than 5 years.

“The ability to stream and download content has changed the landscape of home entertainment and put the end viewer in charge of their entertainment schedule. Make sure you have the right broadband set up that can support all this online streaming, particularly if there are multiple users in one household. Broadband availability varies by postcode so it is crucial to do your research before switching - if you haven’t changed providers in a while you could save some money too!”