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Most viewed television program every year in the United Kingdom (UK) 2000-2019

In 2019, "Gavin and Stacey" recorded the largest TV viewing audience of the year, with 17.9 million individuals watching the program. In 2012, 24.5 people watched "Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony", making it the most viewed program of the last 20 years in the UK.

UK audiences spend the most time watching TV

According to a survey in 2020, consumers spent the most time watching television each day compared to any other audiovisual content such as YouTube or SVoD. This amounted to an average of nearly 178 minutes daily per individual. Comparatively, only an average of 71 minutes per day was spent on video streaming (SVoD). The UK is also market leader in Europe when it comes to pay TV services such as Sky and Virgin TV, and is expected to generate a revenue of 6.42 billion U.S. dollars for the sector in 2023 – nearly double that of Germany, France and Italy. As of the third quarter of 2019, BBC 1 and Channel 4 were the leading UK TV channels in terms of reach.

Drop in advertising

Television advertising revenue (including video on demand) in the UK has seen a gradual decline since 2017. This reached 4.9 billion British pounds in 2019, the lowest figure since 2014 and is forecasted to take an even further hit in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Following that, the sector is likely to recover in 2021 with an overall 15 percent growth.

Viewing figures for the most watched television program of each year in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2000 to 2019

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Release date



United Kingdom

Survey time period

2005 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Audience for 2019 includes figures for TV set, PC/laptop, tablet, and smartphone viewing.

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