Television industry in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

Television industry revenues in the United Kingdom amounted to roughly 13.6 billion British pounds in 2015. Subscription revenues and income from advertising were the two main sources, coming in at 6.2 and 4.1 billion British pounds respectively. Compared to other national markets that same year, the United Kingdom was the leading European country in terms of both pay TV revenues and TV advertising expenditure, followed by Germany, Italy and France. On the consumer side, the average UK household spent a little over 31 British pounds on television services every month in 2015. This was slightly higher than eight years earlier in 2007, when monthly spending per household came to roughly 29 British pounds.

For many years, television was the unchallenged champion when it came to daily time spent with media by consumers. In 2007, the average UK consumer spent 4.1 hours watching television, whereas a mere 42 minutes were set aside for the internet. However, digital media usage time increased significantly over the next few years, whereas TV viewing time steadily fell and was eventually surpassed by digital in 2013. In 2015, the average daily television viewing time came to 3.61 hours per individual, with consumers aged 65 years and older spending the most time in front of the TV at 5.7 hours per day and women out-watching men by a little over half an hour.

In terms of content, viewers favored entertainment shows, with 18.71 percent of the monthly audience share going to programs of this genre. Dramas, including series, soaps and single plays, ranked next highest, followed by documentaries in third place. The most popular TV channel was BBC 1, with a quarterly reach of nearly 57 million viewers from April to June 2016. ITV and Channel 4 came in second and third.

Even though linear or live television viewing is still the most common way to watch TV as of yet, video on demand and catch-up TV services are growing in importance. In 2016, live TV had a share of 63 percent in the time UK viewers spent on watching activities, compared to 12 percent spent on video on demand content. However, when taking a look at the viewing habits of younger consumers, survey results show that live TV and video on demand were already at a similar level. TV viewers aged between 16 and 24 years spent 36 percent of their viewing activities on live TV and a total of 33 percent on either free or paid on demand video in 2016. When asked for the reason they chose to watch video on-demand content, almost half of respondents in a 2015 survey stated that it gave them access to a wider choice of content. Watching content independent of broadcast schedules and a comfortable viewing experience were the second and third most commonly cited reasons.

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