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Monthly TV Report: January 2014

  • People in the UK watched an average of 2 hours, 34 minutes of commercial linear TV a day during January
  • Total linear TV viewing (including BBC) was 3 hours, 58 minutes a day
  • Commercial TV’s share of linear viewing in January 2014 was 65%
  • Total commercial impacts were down slightly by 1.9% year on year

The viewing figures

The latest figures from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) show that commercial TV accounted for 65% of total TV viewing on a TV set in January.

The average viewer watched 2 hours, 34 minutes of commercial TV a day on a TV set in January. This is 3 minutes less a day than last year. Commercial TV impacts were down by 1.9% on the previous year.

Across the key advertiser audiences, men watched 2 hours, 32 minutes a day of commercial TV, 2 minutes less than last year; 16-34s watched 1 hour, 57 minutes a day, 9 minutes less; and ABC1 adults watched 2 hours, 10 minutes a day, 1 minute less than last year.

In total, linear TV viewing in January (including BBC channels) decreased by 4 minutes compared with last year. The average viewer watched 3 hours, 58 minutes of TV a day. Commercial reach was unchanged at 98%.

A note on measurement

These figures are based on BARB’s standard industry measurement – on which TV advertising is traded. This only includes in-home viewing on a TV set, live or playback, within 7 days of broadcast. However, an increasing amount of TV viewing is happening outside these 7 days and out of the home.

So an increasing amount of viewing is falling outside BARB’s standard measurement, which is one reason for the drop in viewing. Another factor is that the wider choice of on-demand content, from the broadcasters and other services, is shifting the balance of people’s viewing. But the main reason for the drop is that the heaviest TV viewers (4 hours a day or more) are watching a bit less, and they have a disproportionate effect on average viewing figures. This explains why TV’s reach in January was largely unchanged.

BARB has started to measure 8-28 day playback on the TV set and including this extra viewing gives a more accurate picture of TV. Also, through ‘Project Dovetail’, BARB is working towards providing reliable data about new ways TV is being watched on other devices. Early results from it are expected soon.

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