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Traditional television habits still dominate Christmas day despite the rise in on demand viewing

Families will still gather around live television on 25th December with 41% watching five or more hours

TV viewing habits, Getty, SL
Published: Monday, 18th December 2017 at 12:01 am

With the rise in on-demand viewing – and the global impact made by the likes of The Crown and Stranger Things – you'd be forgiven for thinking families would eschew live television this Christmas Day.


But a poll conducted by has revealed the opposite – instead we still gather around the television to watch live, with 85% of 16,000 respondents choosing to tune into the TV as a family on 25th December. And we're not just flicking on the telly for the Queen's Speech or Doctor Who's Christmas special – 41% watch five or more hours of telly on the day itself.

62% of respondents said they preferred to watch scheduled television on Christmas Day, as opposed to on-demand, with 72% saying they did not use any on-demand services during the day.

And rather than rely on their smartphones, it is the television that 50% of those surveyed said was the one device they could not live without.

"The results of our survey show that despite the popularity of digital services and streaming services every other day of the year, Christmas day remains one of the few days when the whole family still gathers around the television to watch live TV," said Tim Glanfield, Editor of

"And its popularity doesn't seem to be diminishing, only 2% of people say that they don't watch any TV on Christmas day and a staggering 17% watch more than seven hours, small wonder that nearly half of them also fall asleep in front of the box!"

But rather than keep the TV on from start to finish, there are moments during the day when the majority of people turn away, with 70% switching off during Christmas dinner while 63% choose to open presents with no distractions.

And while in the past, the Queen's speech was a mainstay for families up and down the country, nowadays 44% say they don't bother to tune in, with 15% revealing they have never watched the annual message recorded at Buckingham Palace.

Do you have the TV on during Christmas dinner?

Yes: 30% No: 70%

Do you watch or listen to The Queen's Speech on Christmas Day?

Yes: 41% No: 44% I’ve never seen it: 15%

At some point on Christmas Day, do you fall asleep in front of TV?

Yes: 47% No: 53%

Do you have the TV on while you open Christmas presents?

Yes: 37% No: 63%

Do you prefer to watch live TV, on-demand, or recorded TV on Christmas Day?

I prefer Live TV 62%

I prefer on-demand TV 13%

I record things to watch on the day 22%

I watch DVDs 3%

How many hours of TV do you watch on Christmas Day?

None: 2%

1 to 2 hrs :19%

3 to 4 hrs :37%

5 to 6 hrs :25%

7 to 8 hrs: 8%

More than 8 hrs: 9%

How many hours of on-demand TV (Netflix, iPlayer etc.) do you watch on Christmas Day?

None: 72%

1 to 2 hrs: 20%

3 to 4 hrs: 5%

4+ hrs: 3%

What’s the one device you couldn’t live without on Christmas Day?

TV: 50%

Smartphone: 25%

Set top recorder:7%

Radio: 8%

Tablet; 6%

Laptop: 4%

Do you watch TV as a family on Christmas Day?

Yes: 85% No: 15%

Do you watch religious programmes on Christmas Day?

Yes: 23% No: 77%

Is Christmas TV better or worse than when you were a child?

Better: 40% Worse: 60%

Do you think there are more repeats on at Christmas than there used to be?

Yes 75% No 25%

The poll of over 16,000 people was conducted by is December 2017.


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