Catch-up now accounts for a fifth of British TV viewing

Watching when you want is fuelling a rise in the number of hours we spend on television

A fifth of British TV viewing now takes place via catch-up and on-demand services, according to a new survey – confirming the trend that we watch less TV when it’s broadcast but, because we can easily choose what to see, spend more time watching television overall. A quarter of adults say they are watching more TV than they were five years ago.

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The average Briton records just under nine hours of TV a week and spends six hours watching on catch-up or on-demand – with the percentages for catch-up viewing rising among under-24s.

While three quarters of those questioned still use their main TV the most – and more than half had bought a new TV set for the lounge in the past three years – the average home now has three other devices on which to watch, with 57% using their computer, 14% doing so through a games console and 25% accessing TV on the fastest-growing type of device: tablets.

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The study, which was based on interviews with more than 2000 adults across the UK, was carried out in May by YouGov for on-demand TV service YouView.