Entertainment & Arts

TV viewing figures increase in UK

iPlayer showing EastEnders
Image caption BBC iPlayer - the BBC's catch-up TV service - launched in 2007

More people are watching TV in the UK despite a decline in the number of TV sets per household, a study has found.

In 2003 there were 2.03 television sets per UK household but by 2012, this had reduced to 1.83 sets, according to the TeleScope report.

But the growth of portable devices and online viewing has seen an increase in the total number of hours watched.

The report found UK viewers currently watch an average four hours and two minutes of television a day.

The figure is up from an average three hours and 36 minutes in 2006.

It also found almost a third of UK adults (29%) used online catch-up services last year.

The annual TeleScope study of the nation's viewing habits was commissioned by the TV Licensing authority.

Although sales of traditional TV sets are in decline, smart TV sales have increased by 211% over the past two years and 11% of UK households now own a tablet device.

Smart TVs have internet-enabled features and a familiar app interface.

Happiness index

3D TVs accounted for nearly a third of the TV market in 2012, while sales of large screens of 43 inches or more have increased by 10% in the past year.

The rise of Twitter has also given television viewers another outlet to air their views on programming - of the UK's 10 million Twitter users, 60% of them tweet about TV.

Britons are recording an estimated 455 million hours of TV a year, however despite new technology being embraced, less than 1% of viewers solely watched catch-up, or "timeshifted", TV.

The report also found some 29% of households still own a VCR (video cassette recorder).

However live TV is still attracting big audiences, with the Olympic Games opening ceremony in London last year attracting 26.9 million viewers.

The report also featured a "telehappiness" index, which looks at viewers' emotional engagement with TV genres.

It found comedy brought the most happiness to viewers' lives, with 95% of respondents saying they got the most enjoyment from the genre.

Older people found the most enjoyment in children's television, with 80% of respondents aged 65 and above agreeing children's shows make them happy.

Welsh viewers get the most happiness from watching sport - 82% - than any other nation or region, while viewers in the east of England are happier watching drama and soaps - 78% - than the rest of the UK.

Dr Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness, the movement for positive social change, said: "Certain programming, notably comedy and entertainment, can significantly boost our mood... we could all benefit from more programmes that not only boost our own telehappiness, but also help us to see the good in the world and inspire us to contribute to it."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites