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Young people spend more time online than watching TV for first time

Young people are increasingly deserting traditional broadcast television in favour of online entertainment with digital pursuits having now overtaken TV for the first time ever – according to Childwise.

The charity described the tipping point in its annual survey as a ‘landmark change’ which illustrated the growing clout of on-demand services such as Netflix which have surged since the advent of tablet computers having increased by 50 per cent over the past year alone.

Overall time spent online now averages at three hours per day compared to just 2.1 hours spent watching television with this divergence even more pronounced among older teenagers with the proportion of 15-16 year old’s watching broadcast television standing at less than a quarter.

Indeed of this age group 32 per cent could cite no favourite television programme although of those that did boys generally cited Match of the Day whilst girls opted for Made in Chelsea.

Despite the decline in broadcast interest young people still had a clear preference for watching content on a TV screen with only a minority using their mobile phone.

Simon Leggett, Childwise research director, said: "Growing access to the internet at any time and in any place, and a blurring of television content across channels and devices, brings a landmark change in behaviour this year.

"Children are now seeking out the content of their choice. They still find traditional TV programmes engaging but are increasingly watching them online and on-demand or binge watching box sets."

Childwise based their findings on a survey of 2,000 children aged five to sixteen.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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